Listen to the panel discuss the importance of being bowel cancer aware and how it can affect everybody, both men and women, young and old. Hear their thoughts on how bowel cancer aware they think we really are.
Lauren Swankie, National Cancer Campaign Manager
When you say to people that bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer they are astonished. They don’t put bowel cancer up there with breast, prostate and lung cancer and yet it is one of the four main cancers that affect people in this country.
Because it’s talking about going to the toilet and down there, people do not want to talk about it. They find it embarrassing.
There are national screening programmes and it’s easy to do in your own home. I think what we’d say is just get over the taboo and do it. I know some people get queasy about the thought of taking a sample of their poo but this could save your life.
Look at me, I’m fine, I’m running marathons still. If you leave it too late, you’re not going to be able to do what you wanted to do. Life’s not going to be the same.
If you get diagnosed with stage one, so early, your chances of still being alive five years later are 97%. 97%, that’s almost everyone. If you’re diagnosed with stage four, it’s 7%, that’s the difference. This is a really treatable, manageable cancer, and more so if it’s caught early.
Although statistics say that most people are over 70 when they first get diagnosed, I was 48 and I think the statistics are something like 4,600 people aged 50-70 are diagnosed every year with bowel cancer so if we can save that many people that’s massive.
Bowel cancer can happen at any age, to men and women. Some remarkably young people have been diagnosed with bowel cancer, so if you have symptoms, whatever your age, get them checked out.
There’s current research to show that around 50% of bowel cancers could be avoided with changes to the lifestyle and that is around what you eat and what you do. The amount of exercise you take smoking, alcohol, and eating red meat.