ALMOST 40 people are diagnosed and 14 die from bowel cancer in the Coleraine Borough Council area every year.
During Bowel Cancer Awareness month, local cancer charity Action Cancer is encouraging men and women across Northern Ireland to be aware of the symptoms of the disease and to seek advice immediately if they have any concerns.
Bowel cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in Northern Ireland and the second most common cause of death from cancer. Approximately 1,000 people are diagnosed and 440 die from the disease here every year.
Geraldine Kerr, Head of Professional Services for Action Cancer said: “If bowel cancer is detected in its earliest stages the individual has more than a nine in 10 chance of surviving the disease so we need to ensure that the public are aware of the most common early signs and symptoms like having blood in your stools, loose and more frequent bowel movements or pain and swelling in your abdomen for a prolonged length of time.
“It’s important to note that there are many other common conditions with similar symptoms that will affect us at some time in our lives, so most people with these symptoms do not have cancer. But if you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms and they do not go away within two to six weeks, we would recommend you seek advice from your GP immediately.”
The Northern Ireland Bowel Cancer Screening Programme offers screening every two years to men and women aged 60 to 71, and aims to increase the proportion of cases detected at an early stage of the disease, before symptoms develop and when the chance of successful treatment is greatest.
To find out more on the Northern Ireland Screening Programme please visit www.cancerscreening.hscni.net/.