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Woman with bowel pain

Bowel Cancer Awareness Month: Early Diagnosis and Treatment

Every day around 45 people in the UK will die from bowel cancer. While the number of people surviving bowel cancer has doubled in the last 40 years, deaths from bowel cancer continue to be high.

Bowel cancer (or colorectal cancer as it is also known) is cancer of the colon or back passage. The symptoms can include:

  • bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo,
  • a persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit,
  • unexplained weight loss,
  • extreme tiredness for no obvious reason,
  • a pain or lump in your tummy.

These types of symptoms can be embarrassing to discuss, even with your GP. Your GP would be happy to discuss these symptoms with you and the sooner the better. In most cases these symptoms will not be caused by bowel cancer but where they are, the evidence is clear that the earlier the diagnosis is made, the better the prognosis.

If the diagnosis is made early then the prognosis is very good. 95% of men and almost a 100% of women diagnosed with Stage 1 bowel cancer will survive their cancer for 5 years or more. Sadly by the time the cancer has progressed to Stage 4, the prognosis is poor. Only 5% of men and 10% of women diagnosed with Stage 4 bowel cancer will survive for 5 years or more. It is for this reason that bowel cancer is the fourth largest cancer killer in the UK, despite being treatable and curable in the early stages.

As a starting point Bowel Cancer UK have a symptom diary which can be downloaded from their website. The 3 week diary is designed to be used before seeing your GP in order to provide your GP with a clear picture of your symptoms and may assist your GP in assessing whether further referral is required.

The purpose of raising awareness of bowel cancer is to increase the number of people diagnosed at an early stage and to prevent unnecessary deaths as a result of bowel cancer.

The Clinical Negligence team at Clarke Willmott have a lot experience in working with clients with advanced cancer and their families. We understand the financial, emotional and physical pain of dealing with a cancer diagnosis. We are therefore fully behind Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and are keen to do whatever we can in April 2020 to raise awareness of Bowel Cancer and how to spot the early signs.

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