Bowel cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the UK. Most people diagnosed with bowel cancer are over 60 years old. Screening aims to detect bowel cancer at an early stage, in people with no symptoms, when treatment is more likely to be effective.
As a Practice, we strongly recommend you complete the screening kit when it arrives. If you have any questions, or would like more information about screening for bowel cancer you can contact the screening programme Freephone 0800 707 60 60. However, if you have any specific concerns, or are worried about bowel symptoms, and would prefer to speak to someone at this Practice in confidence, please feel free to contact us.
It is also very important that you are aware of the symptoms of bowel cancer. The most common symptoms to look out for are:
- a persistent change in bowel habit, especially going to the toilet more often or diarrhoea
- bleeding from the back passage without any obvious reason or blood in your bowel motions
- abdominal pain, especially if it is severe
- a lump in your abdomen
Most of these symptoms will not be cancer. However, if you have experienced one or more of these symptoms for more than four weeks you should contact us as soon as possible.
The screening test for bowel cancer is offered in England to people aged between 60-74 years. (People aged over 74 can request a screening kit by contacting the bowel cancer screening programme on 0800 707 6060).
The test is carried out at home, using a kit that arrives in the post. The kit is a simple way for you to collect small samples of your poo. You wipe the sample on a special card, which you then send for testing in a hygienically, sealed, prepaid envelope. There are detailed instructions with the kit. You may think that the tests sound a bit embarrassing, or unpleasant, but collecting the samples doesn’t take long.
A short video has been made by Cancer UK to show how you can carry out the test. More detail is available via the Cancer Uk webpage about the bowel screening programme.
If you did not use the kit when it arrived but would like to participate, please call the bowel screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60.
The Colorectal Nurse Specialist Team
The team has expertise and experience in assisting with patients and carers concerns including:
- information about the disease illness, investigations, treatments and follow up
- advice about any symptoms;
- support for patients, relatives and carers;
- referral to the community nursing teams, such as the District Nurses;
- referral to other professionals who can offer specialist advice such as benefits, social services or complimentary therapies.
The advice line number is 0113 2065535.
Details of national support organisation and patient, relative and carer support groups are available on the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Colorectcal Cancer Support page.