Deborah James leaves hospital after bowel cancer surgery
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It is very important to get cancer spotted early, as this can help immensely. Indeed, Bowel Cancer UK says bowel cancer is treatable and curable “especially if diagnosed early”. Sadly, survival rates drop as the disease develops, so the charity says “early diagnosis really does save lives”.
The bowel is part of the digestive system, which is necessary for breaking down food and moving undigested waste along towards the rectum to be excreted from the body. Unsurprisingly, many symptoms can show up when you go to the toilet.
Doctor Belinda Griffiths GP who does cancer screenings from The Fleet Street Clinic, has outlined a number of signs.
She said: “The symptoms of bowel cancer can be subtle and can often be confused with symptoms of other, less serious illnesses.
“It is important to note that the majority of people with these symptoms do not have bowel cancer but symptoms should not be ignored just in case it is.”
The GP states: “You should highlight concerns and symptoms which are present for longer than three-weeks to your doctor so they can investigate the cause.
“Delaying investigation could result in bowel cancer being diagnosed at a later stage.”
Doctor Belinda said that persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit such as having more frequent bowel movements, constipation, or having looser stools, lasting for longer than six week is a common sign.
Bowel Cancer UK says that one in 15 men and one in 18 women will be diagnosed with bowel cancer during their lifetime. The charity says: “If you have any symptoms, don’t be embarrassed and don’t ignore them.”
The NHS explains: “When you first see a GP, they’ll ask about your symptoms and whether you have a family history of bowel cancer.”
According to the health body, your GP may carry out a number of tests.”They’ll usually carry out a simple examination of your bottom, known as a digital rectal examination (DRE), and examine your tummy (abdomen).”
There are some known risk factors, though having one or more risk factors doesn’t mean that you will definitely get bowel cancer, however.
Although it is very difficult to research the link between diet and cancer, studies have shown certain foods can definitely affect the risk of bowel cancer.
Processed meat is any meat that has been treated to preserve it and/or add flavour – for example, bacon, salami, sausages, canned meat, or chicken nuggets.
The Government recommends that people eating more than 90g of red and processed meat a day should reduce it to 70g or less.
According to Cancer Research UK, a linked risk factor is obesity. “It is estimated that 11 out of 100 bowel cancers (11 percent) in the UK are linked to being overweight or obese.”
Bowel cancer can be targeted with a range of treatments, based on where your cancer is and how far it has spread.
The NHS explains the main treatments are:
- Surgery – the cancerous section of bowel is removed; it’s the most effective way of curing bowel cancer and in many cases is all you need
- Chemotherapy – where medicine is used to kill cancer cells
- Radiotherapy – where radiation is used to kill cancer cells
- Targeted therapies – a newer group of medicines that increases the effectiveness of chemotherapy and prevents the cancer spreading.
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