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DOCTOR CALLING: A trip to the doctor could save your life

By Spalding Today Columnist

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK with almost 42,000 people diagnosed with the condition every year .

More than nine out of ten new cases are diagnosed in people over the age of 50, and nearly six out of ten cases are diagnosed in people aged 70 or over.

As more people live longer in Lincolnshire , the NHS is urging older patients not to put their health at risk by opting out of bowel cancer screening.

Dr Kevin Hill
Dr Kevin Hill

Someone dies from bowel cancer in the UK every 30 minutes, which seems unthinkable, especially when bowel cancer is treatable when diagnosed at an early stage.

So we urge patients, especially those over 60 who are most at risk, to accept their invitation to the screening process when it arrives. It could save their lives.

If treated early, there is a very good chance of recovery. The only problem is that only nine per cent of patients are diagnosed at the early stage.

That’s why accepting the invitation to take part in screening is so vital.

Bowel cancer occurs when the cells in the bowel multiply and attack the surrounding tissue - which can then spread to the other parts of the body. It is also called colon cancer.

The symptoms of bowel cancer can be:

• Bleeding from your

bottom and/or blood in

your poo;

• A change in bowel habit

for three weeks or more,

especially to looser or

runny poo;

• Unexplained weight


• Extreme tiredness for

no obvious reason;

• A pain or lump in your


Patients might experience one, some, all of the above or no symptoms at all. Most symptoms will not be bowel cancer.

However, people who are worried about any symptoms that might be caused by bowel cancer hould make an appointment with their GP.

Patients aged 60 to 74 will automatically be sent an invitation and a screening kit to do the test at home. The testing kit is a very simple way to collect small samples on a special card in your own home. There are clear instructions sent with the kit. You then send the card in a hygienically sealed, prepaid envelope to a laboratory for testing. You will be sent the results of your test by post within two weeks.

Just remember, you’ll not be wasting anyone’s time by getting checked out. If it isn’t serious, you’ll put your mind at rest. If it’s bowel cancer, early detection can make all the difference. Over 90 per cent who are diagnosed at the earliest stage are successfully treated. So a trip to your doctor could save your life.


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