NHS Lewisham CCG supports Bowel Cancer Awareness Month 2018
In Lewisham, 10% of cancer related deaths are caused by
bowel cancer, that’s why, GPs in Lewisham are supporting Bowel Cancer Awareness
Month. The campaign takes place in April and is aimed to highlight the
importance of early diagnosis in tackling one of the most prominent forms of cancer.
Bowel cancer is a common type of cancer in both men and women. About 1 in
20 people will get it during their lifetime and currently cancer affects more
than 40,000 people a year in the UK. Although Lewisham’s overall cancer
mortality rates are in line with those expected in the UK, this figure masks a
significant increase in the mortality figures for males under 75 years,
specifically increased mortality rates from bowel and lung cancer. There are
many reasons behind for this including a greater than average prevalence of
smoking (20.2% versus 17.8% for London) that will constitute a strong component
of increased incidence and mortality of lung cancer. There is also a known link
between smoking and lower-social economic status, and Lewisham has a high level
of deprivation, being within the 20% of most deprived Local Authorities (Index
of Multiple Deprivation 2015). In addition, there is evidence in the literature
that ethnic minorities often present later than average, with higher stage
cancer, and Lewisham has a substantial BAME population.
More than half of cancers could be
prevented by changes in peoples’ behaviours such as low fruit and vegetable
intake and high intake of red and processed meat for bowel cancer.
Dr. Marc Rowland, GP and Chair of NHS Lewisham Clinical
Commissioning Group, said: “Colorectal cancer can be treated effectively if
caught early enough and people can minimise the risk by following simple advice
including diet and exercise.
“Those aged 55 and older will be automatically contacted
about screening but if you have any symptoms or concerns, contact your GP
Symptoms can include:
persistent blood in the stools –
that occurs for no obvious reason or is associated with a change in bowel
persistent change in your bowel habit – which usually means going
more often, with looser stools
lower abdominal (tummy) pain,
bloating or discomfort – that's always caused by eating and may be
associated with loss of appetite or significant unintentional weight loss
In Lewisham, bowel cancer screening
is offered to all men and women aged 60 to 74 every 2 years. The test can be
carried out in the privacy of your home, and involves the use of a Faecal
Occult Blood Test, which tests bowel motions for tiny amounts of blood that are
not detected to the eye. A sample kit is sent out to your home. For more
information please go to https://www.lewishamandgreenwich.nhs.uk/bowel-cancer-screening
If you're unsure whether
to see your GP, try the bowel cancer symptom checker.
Read more about NHS screening for bowel cancer.
We encourage residents of Lewisham to seek advice on how to
minimise the risk of bowel cancer here. The
South East London Cancer Help Centre
also provides an excellent source of advice and support outside the NHS with
many of its staff having survived cancer.