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Bowel cancer symptom awareness ‘alarmingly low’

A third of people cannot name any symptoms of the disease.

A third of Britons are not able to name a single symptom of bowel cancer, a charity has warned.

Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer said that symptom awareness is “alarmingly low” after a poll found that 35% of people were not aware of any of the signs.

Meanwhile, a quarter of people can only name one of the most common symptoms.

Symptoms include blood in stool or bleeding from the bottom, a change of bowel habit, pain or a lump in the stomach, extreme weight loss and unexplained fatigue.

A poll conducted by the charity on 4,000 people across the UK found that just 2% could identify unexplained tiredness or fatigue as a symptom and only 7% knew that extreme weight loss may be a sign.

One in 10 knew that pain or a lump in one’s stomach could be a sign of bowel cancer, with 13% able to identify a change of bowel habit as a sign.

Spotting blood during a trip to the lavatory was most commonly identified – 53% of those surveyed knew this was a symptom of disease.

Men are less likely than women to recognise any bowel cancer symptoms with 45% of British men unable to spot any signs compared to 26% of women.

Deborah Alsina, chief executive of Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer, said: “Knowing the symptoms of bowel cancer could save your life, but this survey shows awareness is alarmingly low.

“Every day I hear from families about the devastating effects of a bowel cancer diagnosis. Our vision is that by 2050 no one will die from bowel cancer, and raising awareness of the symptoms is a key step to achieving this.

“If you experience any of the symptoms of bowel cancer or just don’t feel quite right, no matter your age, please visit your GP. Don’t worry about wasting their time. If you are worried that something is wrong, they will want to see you. Your GP may be able to put your mind at rest. If it is something serious, the earlier you get a diagnosis, the better the chance of successful treatment and cure.”

Across the UK almost 42,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year and nearly 16,000 people die from the disease.


From Belfast Telegraph