Spotting symptoms sooner – bowel cancer

Did you know that bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the UK?

In Swale, more than half of those aged 60 – 69 have been screened for bowel cancer – which is important because bowel cancer can be treated and cured if diagnosed early.

The NHS bowel cancer screening home testing kit called the faecal occult blood test (FOBT) is offered to those aged 60 – 74 every two years.  People aged 75 or over can ask for a test by calling the bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60.

This test can detect bowel cancer or non-cancerous growths earlier for those who do not experience symptoms.  An additional test that uses a tube with a camera to look inside, called bowel scope screening is starting to be offered in some areas for those at 55.

If you experience persistent symptoms or things don’t feel right, get them checked by your doctor.  This includes blood or changes in your poo, needing to go to the toilet more often than usual, experiencing pain in your lower abdomen (tummy) or losing weight for no reason.  These symptoms are also very common for those who do not have cancer and examples include piles (haemorrhoids) and changes in bowels or experiencing pain due to something that has been eaten.  However, make sure you see your doctor if your symptoms persist.

More information can be found on the NHS Choices website.