Be Clear on Cancer launches this month and the people of Milton Keynes are being asked to learn to spot common symptoms of cancer, in the hope of earlier diagnosis and treatment.
The campaign, which is being supported by regional celebrities Nick Hewer, Frank Skinner, Emile Heskey, Julia Bradbury and Nitin Ganatra, encourages people suffering from symptoms such as persistent diarrhoea, bloating or discomfort in the tummy area to see their doctor. These can be signs of a number of cancers, including bowel, ovarian or pancreatic.
The campaign is aimed at 55-74 year olds with around nine in 10 cases of cancer are diagnosed in people aged 50 or over and the earlier it is diagnosed, the greater the chances of survival*. For example, 98% of those diagnosed with early stage (stage 1) bowel cancer will live for at least one year. At a late stage (stage 4), this drops to 42%**.
Public Health England, Department of Health and Cancer Research UK have worked together on developing this Be Clear on Cancer campaign in the hope to spread the word as much as possible.
Dr Nessan Carson, Care Pathways and Primary Care Lead, NHS Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:
“The symptoms of cancer can be subtle and don’t necessarily make you feel ill. More than 90% of people with bowel cancer have one of the following combinations of symptoms: going to the toilet more often, blood in stools, abdominal pain and weight loss. It is important that you seek advice from your GP if any of these symptoms persist for more than three weeks.
“If you’ve been suffering from tummy troubles such as diarrhoea, bloating, discomfort or anything else that just doesn’t feel right, for three weeks or more, it’s important that you see your doctor as soon as you can. It’s probably nothing to worry about – but if it is cancer, the earlier it's found, the better. Treatment is more likely to be successful when cancer is diagnosed at an early stage.
“Cancer survival rates are improving and the good news is that patients are twice as likely to survive a cancer diagnosis as they were 40 years ago. We know finding cancer early saves lives, so we would urge everyone not to ignore the warning signs.
“We are encouraging people to detect potential symptoms of cancer sooner and look out for each other - if a friend or loved one says they’ve had tummy troubles such as diarrhoea, bloating or discomfort for three weeks or more, encourage them to see their GP. While it may be nothing to worry about, it is always better to get it checked out.”
For further information about tummy troubles as possible signs of cancer, please visit www.nhs.uk/tummytroubles
For further information on bowel cancer, visit http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cancer-of-the-colon-rectum-or-bowel/Pages/Introduction.aspx there is also a simple bowel cancer symptom checker available here: http://www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Bowel-cancer-self-assessment.aspx