90% of Bowel cancer cases can be treated successfully if diagnosed early
Bowel cancer affects men and women almost equally and is the third most common type of cancer in 2009 41,142 cases registered with 18,431 female and 22,711 male. Depending on where the cancer starts, bowel cancer is sometimes called colon or rectal cancer. Nearly all bowel cancers develop in the large bowel two-thirds of these are in the colon and one-third in the rectum. Most bowel cancers develop from polyps which are usually non-cancerous and, once detected, can be removed easily if caught early enough.
The main symptoms to look out for are persistent blood in stools, more frequent and loose stools, persistent abdominal pain, bloating or discomfort. Unexplained weight loss and extreme tiredness. Please contact your GP immediately if you are worried or your symptoms persist. Do not delay. Other health problems can cause similar symptoms such as haemorrhoids. Changes in bowel habits and abdominal bloating maybe linked to diet. Keeping a simple food diary may help you to identify if a pattern is developing around certain food triggers. If you think that food may be a trigger for your symptoms you might consider making changes to your diet and lifestyle. However, make sure you see a GP if your symptoms persist regardless of their severity or your age.
Research tells us that most people diagnosed with colon cancer are over the age of 60. However, the number of cases of bowel cancer in younger people is increasing rapidly, particularly in the under-30s which has increased by 120% in the last decade. At this point I would like to introduce the Ducks and Drakes Cancer Trust based in Dorset (registered with the Charity Commission in 2012, No: 1147024) and founded by Andrew Drake and his family following the bowel cancer diagnosis of Andrew aged 24. To read Andrews story and more information visit www.ducksdrakescancertrust.org.uk The Trust was founded to:
1. Create awareness of bowel cancer in young people, aged 18 to 30 in Dorset and the UK.
2. To support bowel cancer patients and their families through the provision of specialist equipment and financial aid.
3. To fund specialist nurses in Dorset County Hospital, specifically in the Colorectal Department and provide financial support for equipment and the new cancer unit at the hospital.
The Fortuneswell Clinical Reflexology Team are very grateful for recent funding provided by Ducks and Drakes Cancer Trust that will be used to increase Clinical Reflexology treatment hours at DCH.
Increased risk from: Age – almost 9 in 10 people with bowel cancer are aged 60 or over. Diet – a diet high in red or processed meats and low in fibre can increase your risk. Weight – bowel cancer is more common in overweight or obese people. Exercise – being inactive increases your risk of getting bowel cancer. Alcohol – drinking alcohol might increase your risk of getting bowel cancer. Smoking – smoking may increase your chances of getting bowel cancer. Family history – having a close relative who developed bowel cancer under the age of 50 puts you at a greater lifetime risk of developing the condition; screening is offered to people in this situation, and you should discuss this with a GP. Increased risk of bowel cancer because of having another condition, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease in the colon for more than 10 years. Reduce risk by: Exercise. The more active you are, the more you reduce your chances of developing bowel cancer. Eat foods that are rich in fibre such as fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds and wholegrain cereals. Replace white bread, pasta and rice for wholegrain Cut down on red meat, and avoid processed meats, such as processed ham and meats. Cut down on fatty meats e.g. bacon. Limit your alcohol intake. Bowel cancer has been linked to a heavy intake of alcohol (+ 4 units of alcohol a day for men).Get to know all the allium family – onions, garlic, shallots, chives and leeks are all good for your gut. Don’t hold it. If you need to go to the toilet, do so as soon as you can. Always drink your daily recommended water, 2 litres Lastly and most importantly, stop smoking. The NHS also offers free advice on quitting, contact your local doctor’s surgery for further information.