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YOU'RE NOT ALONE; HEALTH; If you've been affected by bowel cancer, it can be a difficult condition to deal with, but there's help and advice at hand...

Byline: BEING HEALTHY WITH SAMANTHA COPE

Most people know the dangers and symptoms of breast cancer, and now the sun is shining we'll all be taking precautions to avoid getting burnt, one of the main causes of skin cancer. But one cancer that's not widely talked about is bowel cancer, the second biggest cancer killer in the UK. Every year over 40,000 people are diagnosed and around 15,700 people die of the disease.

Symptoms of bowel cancer, which can start anywhere in the large or small intestine, include blood in your stools, an unexplained change in your bowel habits, such as prolonged diarrhoea or constipation, and unexplained weight loss. While these symptoms can be signs of a less serious condition, you should visit your GP as soon as possible.

72 per cent of bowel cancers happen in people over 65 and currently, those aged between 60 and 69 are offered screenings every two years.

Bowel Cancer UK aims to save lives and improve the quality of life for all those affected by bowel cancer. They've released a new information pack called 'Your diet: Living with and beyond bowel cancer' which will inform and give tips to people recovering from the disease.

Bowel Cancer UK patron, actor Ben Richards, left, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012 but has since recovered. He says, 'When you're recovering from bowel surgery food can be your friend and your enemy, you know you need the nutrients to get you on your road to recovery, yet are afraid of how your insides will deal with each food group, trial and error can be tough. That is why I'm so pleased to see Bowel Cancer UK help address these issues with their downloadable diet resource pack.'

Gail Curry, Health Promotion and Outreach Manager says, 'This pack is intended to support bowel cancer patients and their families with any problems they may face after bowel cancer treatment. We hope that those recovering from bowel cancer will see an improvement in their symptoms after using the pack. It offers helpful information and tips on what to eat for a variety of post-surgery problems.'

For more information and to download the pack visit bowelcanceruk.org.uk.

Spot check quiz: Bowel cancer

1. Bowel cancer is the second highest cause of cancer deaths in the UK.

TRUE FALSE

2. Bowel cancer can develop with few or no symptoms.

TRUE FALSE

3. Having a family history of bowel cancer is the greatest risk factor for developing bowel cancer.

TRUE FALSE

4. Bowel cancer is one of the most preventable cancers.

TRUE FALSE

5. Colonoscopy is the only test for bowel cancer.

TRUE FALSE

Answers

1 TRUE

Only lung cancer kills more people. Almost 80 people die every day from bowel cancer, more than from breast cancer or prostate cancer.

2 TRUE

Bowel cancer can develop initially with few or no symptoms, which is why it is so important to participate in bowel cancer screening. Symptoms for bowel cancer however can include bleeding from the bowel, changes in your normal bowel habits, feeling of incomplete emptying of the bowel, unexplained weight loss or lack of appetite, persistent cramping or abdominal pain and signs of anaemia such as general weakness, tiredness and breathlessness. These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have bowel cancer. However, if you experience any of these symptoms, please see your doctor without delay.

3 FALSE

While having a family history of bowel cancer can increase your risk of the disease, the most significant risk factor for bowel cancer is increased age (more common in those aged 50 and older). Other risk factors include: Having a previous history of polyps or adenomas, having an inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn's disease or chronic ulcerative colitis, an unhealthy lifestyle, being overweight, smoking and/or having a high level of alcohol consumption and Type II diabetes.

4 TRUE

Bowel cancer develops from small non-cancerous growths in the bowel wall known as polyps. If left untreated over time, polyps can enlarge and become cancerous. However, if detected early, polyps can be removed, preventing bowel cancer from developing. That is why it's so important to be screened for bowel cancer. developing bowel cancer.

5 FALSE

Colonoscopy is one test for diagnosing bowel cancer. The current screening test being used by the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program is called a Faecal Occult Blood Test or FOBT. The FOBT can detect small amounts of blood in the bowel motions. It's done in the privacy of your own home and involves collecting small samples of your bowel motions, which are then sent to a laboratory for analysis. If a FOBT is positive (i.e. blood is found), further tests, usually a colonoscopy, will be needed to find out the cause.

CAPTION(S):

Actor Ben Richards beat cancer
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The People (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 27, 2014
Words:801
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