Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer and second biggest cancer killer in England, which is why this April we are supporting Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and sharing information from Bowel Cancer UK.
Bowel cancer affects both men and women. It is more common in the over 60s but can affect anyone of any age - almost 42,000 people in the UK are diagnosed each year. It is also treatable and curable, especially if it’s diagnosed early. Nearly everyone diagnosed with bowel cancer at the earliest stage will survive.
You are more at risk of bowel cancer if you:
- Are over 50 or
- Have a history of bowel polyps or
- Have longstanding inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis or
- Have type 2 diabetes or
- Have an unhealthy lifestyle or
- Have a strong family history of bowel cancer.
Scientists estimate around half of all bowel cancers could be prevented by having a healthier lifestyle.
How to reduce your risk:
- Avoid processed meat for example bacon, ham sausages, burgers, salami - an occasional treat rather than every day
- Limit your intake of red meat to 500g (cooked) per week
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink - no more than 14 units per week
- Don’t smoke - smoking increases your risk of bowel cancer
- Keep to a healthy body weight – try to reduce abdominal (tummy) fat
- Increase your fibre intake
- Get active - 150 mins over one week
If you are aged over 60, bowel cancer screening could save your life. Taking part in screening is the best way to get diagnosed early. If bowel cancer is diagnosed at the earliest stage, more than nine in ten people will be successfully treated.
For more information on bowel cancer visit the NHS website https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/bowel-cancer/