Bowel Cancer Awareness Month 2022

31st March 2022

April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month. Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK. Almost 9 out of 10 people diagnosed are diagnosed when they are over the age of 60. If it is caught in the early stages, there is a greater than 90% chance of a cure.

What are the early symptoms of bowel cancer?

Bowel cancer develops from polyps (a tiny bump of cells inside the bowel). Most polyps remain benign, but about 1 in 10 will turn into cancer. The most common symptoms of bowel cancer are:

  • Bleeding from the bowel
  • Change in bowel habit (such as unusual episodes of diarrhoea or constipation)
  • Abdominal pain or weight loss

Some of these symptoms mimic those of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). However, a new, prolonged change in bowel habit lasting more than two or three months should always be discussed with your doctor.

Paul’s Story

Paul’s family found Guts UK after his dad Brian sadly passed away from pancreatitis. The family ran a New Year’s Eve 10k in Brian’s memory for Guts UK raising over £2,000. Months on, the family recieved the news that Paul, had been diagnosed with bowel cancer.

“We are so grateful for Guts UK’s information to help us understand the battle Paul is facing.” – Kirsteen, Paul’s sister & Brian’s daughter.

Paul, Kirsteen and their family and friends walked 26 miles last year in support of Guts UK’s work once again. They raised over £6,000.

Thanks to the support of families like Kirsteen and Paul’s we can continue making important changes in this misunderstood are of health. If you want to join our small but mighty gut army by fundraising for Guts UK, discover more here.

Guts UK is supporting research into bowel cancer

Guts UK is proud to support Professor Colin Rees and his team at Newcastle, the ‘COLO-COHORT’ study. This study aims to develop a tool to determine the groups of people who are at higher risk of developing bowel cancer, or polyps in the bowel that may lead to bowel cancer.

Screening programmes are in place for bowel cancer in the UK, but they only consider age, and don’t consider other factors that may increase your likelihood of developing bowel cancer, like lifestyle or family history. 113 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK every day, and 44 people die. If caught early enough, bowel cancer is one of the more treatable and preventable cancers.

Prof. Rees and his team are collecting data from 10,000 people with the aim to develop a ‘risk stratification tool’. This tool will aim to determine which patients are at highest risk of developing bowel cancer or having polyps in the bowel. If successful, this research could lead to a more accurate bowel cancer screening programme in the UK, with less unnecessary colonoscopies and most importantly, save lives by diagnosing bowel cancer early.

Help us to fund more life-saving & life-changing research, so we can help families like Paul's. Donate to Guts UK today.

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