Written by Samantha Lade, DonateToday
Published: Friday, 13th April 2018

Over a third of the UK public aren't aware of a single bowel cancer symptom, warns charity

Over a third of the UK public aren't aware of a single bowel cancer symptom, warns charity

New research by a leading bowel cancer charity has revealed that more than 1 in 3 (35%) of UK adults are not aware of any symptoms for the UK's second biggest cancer killer.

Commissioned by Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer, the research polled 4,000 people, and also discovered that just 25% could name one of the five most common bowel cancer symptoms.

The results are published for Bowel Cancer Awareness Month this April. Now, the charity is warning of the dangers of such alarmingly low symptom awareness, with the help of ex-footballer Kevin Sheedy (pictured above).

The most recognisable bowel cancer symptom – which over half of people who listed a symptom identified – is spotting blood when you go for a poo (53%). 

The other four remaining symptoms, which have an alarmingly low rate of awareness, are as follows: a change of bowel habit (13%), pain or lump in your tummy (10%), extreme weight loss (7%), and unexplained fatigue (2%).

The research also discovered that men are less likely than women to recognise any bowel cancer symptoms, as nearly half of UK men were unable to spot any signs of the UK's second biggest cancer killer.

Being aware of the key symptoms and visiting your GP if things don't feel right can help increase chances of an early diagnosis, says the charity.

Former Everton midfielder Kevin Sheedy is backing the charity's campaign to raise awareness of bowel cancer symptoms as he was diagnosed with the disease in 2012.

Kevin said: 'I noticed I was going to the toilet a lot more and then I started finding blood when I went for a poo. I remembered listening to an awareness advert I'd heard on the radio and I knew I had to book an appointment with my GP urgently.

"In April alone, nearly 3,500 people will be diagnosed with bowel cancer and over 1,300 people will die of the disease."

- Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer

'I was diagnosed with bowel cancer but luckily I was treated quickly. I had surgery to remove the tumour before it had spread elsewhere.

'The most important thing is to see your GP if you notice any symptoms. That saved my life.'

Deborah Alsina MBE, Chief Executive of Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer, said: 'Every day I hear from families about the devastating effects of a bowel cancer diagnosis.

'If you experience any of the symptoms of bowel cancer or just don’t feel quite right, no matter your age, please visit your GP. Don’t worry about wasting their time. If you are worried that something is wrong, they will want to see you.

'If it is something serious, the earlier you get a diagnosis, the better the chance of successful treatment and cure.'

To help you raise awareness of bowel cancer, the charity is giving away free copies of their handy symptoms guide for you to share. To get hold our your free guide, please click here.