Bowel cancer – spotting symptoms sooner

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

In Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley, 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.

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.

The NHS bowel cancer screening home testing kit called the faecal occult blood (FOB) test 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, even if a person is not experiencing any symptoms.

More information can be found on the NHS Choices website.