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Raising awareness of bowel cancer and screening as part of Decembeard 


December is not just about celebrating Christmas. It's also about raising awareness of bowel cancer and screening as part of Decembeard – Bowel Cancer UK's awareness month. 

Last year, more than one in ten people in Lewisham died from bowel cancer. Less than half of those eligible for bowel screening were screened, which is less than the England average. 

The most effective way of improving cancer outcomes is to prevent them in the first place, or to diagnose them early. Screening and knowing signs and symptoms can help you to get help earlier. To help raise awareness in the borough, a stall was set up at Downham Winter Fair on Saturday 7th December to give out leaflets, and pin badges with signs and symptoms of bowel cancer. Staff from Lewisham Public Health, Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group and a service user spoke with children and adults, old and young about the benefits of bowel cancer screening and catching cancer early. 

Whilst wearing beards and helping the children to pin the moustache on Father Christmas, the team persuaded some who had received their kit and put it to one side, to dig it out and do the test. Others had family members who had passed away or were suffering from bowel cancer and were keen to spread the message. They were thrilled when the band supporting the fair sang a song whilst wearing beards and holding information boards up about bowel cancer. 

Thank you to Bowel Cancer UK and Know the Score for their support with the stall. See what's happening by following #decembeard on twitter.

Do you know your signs and symptoms?

  • Do you bleed from your bottom or have blood in your poo?
  • Have your bowel habits changed?
  • Are you losing weight but don't know why?
  • Are you tired for no reason?
  • Do you have pain or a lump in your tummy?
  • If you're worried or things don't feel right, make an appointment to see your doctor.