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Bowel Cancer Awareness Month April 2024

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Monday 15 April 2024

April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and Public Health want to take the fantastic annual opportunity to raise awareness of bowel cancer symptoms, early diagnosis and prevention.

Di Mathews, Public Health Strategic Screening Lead, said:

'30 minutes of activity a day helps reduce the risk of bowel cancer and now that the weather is improving it's a great time to join in with Active April or the 30 Days walking challenge. According to Cancer Research UK other ways for reducing the risk of bowel cancer include stopping smoking, eating a healthy balanced diet with plenty of fibre and avoiding red and processed meat.'

The Bailiwick Bowel Screening Programme re-started in June 2023 and it aims to detect bowel cancer early before a person has any symptoms. 

Di added:

'Bowel screening is available for anyone aged between 60 and 70 years who is resident in the Bailiwick.  A little test kit called a Faecal Immunochemical Test kit is sent to residents in this age group every two years in the post.  The person uses the kit to take a small sample of their poo which they then post back to the Bowel Screening Programme for analysis. This test is looking for blood not cancer.  If human blood is detected in the poo the person will be invited for an appointment with a specialist nurse who will assess the person and explain about the next test they need.  The nurse is able to book the person for the next test which is to check for cancer. 

'This test is called a colonoscopy and it is where a healthcare professional uses a long flexible tube called a colonoscope to look inside the person's colon/bowel. We are very grateful and would like to thank the local charity, Bowel Cancer Guernsey for producing a short animation which explains the bowel screening programme. We would also like to thank them for paying for extra training for the local Nurse Endoscopist who carries out the colonoscopies for the Bailiwick Screening Programme.'

The animation can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/BCancerGuernsey/videos/240872958640348/

In addition to reducing risk and screening it is important that people are aware of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer so that they can go to their doctor early for investigation. 

Signs and symptoms include;

Anyone who has had a change in bowel habit or is experiencing these symptoms for three weeks or more should make an appointment to see their doctor.  More information about bowel cancer can be found at https://bowelcancerguernsey.org.gg/ or www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/bowel-cancer.

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