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Bowel Cancer Isle of Man – Breaking the Poo Taboo

Bowel Cancer IOM is pleased to announce that, as part of its ongoing awareness campaign, it has purchased 4 freestanding digital screens with integrated literature holders for use in GP practice  waiting areas around the Island.   A presentation about bowel cancer , its symptoms and the Island’s bowel cancer screening programme was loaded onto the screens initially.  Future updates will include information on various health issues.  One of the new display stands was unveiled at the charity’s event held at the Strand Shopping Centre in Douglas in January 2013.

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Visitors to the Bowel Cancer event were able to view the display, walk through the giant colon and take away detailed information on cancer and other conditions affecting the bowel.  A spokesman for the charity said one of the most important aspects of this type of event was the opportunity to talk on a one to one basis about any worries or concerns people might have regarding their bowel health.

Some people struggle with working up the courage or finding time to make an appointment to see their GP, and the delay only increases the worry and fear.  Bowel Cancer IOM is keen to encourage anyone experiencing any of the symptoms of bowel cancer for 3 weeks or more to visit their GP straightaway.

The doctor should ask several routine questions as part of the consultation:

  • How recently have you started to notice the symptoms?
  • Have you noticed any bleeding from your bottom?  If so, what did it look like – bright red, dark red – and how much blood was there?
  • Have you noticed looser, more diarrhoea-like poo and going to the toilet more often?  Or, are you trying to go and feel that you are constipated or unable to completely empty your bowel?
  • Is there a family history of bowel cancer or any other cancer?
  • Have you experienced any unusual abdominal pain or lumps?
  • Have you unexpectedly lost weight or become more tired recently?

The more information a patient can give to their doctor about their bowel habits and what has changed recently, the easier it will be for the doctor to make an accurate diagnosis.  The doctor should also ask about lifestyle and diet, past medical history and any medicines being taken.  In addition  the GP may want to check for any lumps or tenderness in the tummy and perform a rectal examination.  A blood test may also be required to assist with a diagnosis.  Most people referred for further investigation will not turn out to have bowel cancer.

However old a person is they should never believe they are too young to have bowel cancer.  Whilst bowel cancer is more common in the 60+ age group it is becoming increasingly common in younger people too.  Most importantly, people should not be shy or think that they might be wasting their doctor’s time.  It is always better to seek advice at an early stage rather than wait until symptoms require emergency treatment.

Bowel Cancer IOM can be contacted by emailing bowelcanceriom@manx.net or by telephone on 07624 480973.