PEOPLE need to be more open when talking about bowel cancer which claims well over 80 lives a year in Kirklees.
The Government yesterday launched the ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign across West Yorkshire to raise awareness of the symptoms of bowel cancer – and says frank talk about the subject could save people’s lives.
With around 84 people dying from the disease every year just in Kirklees – it is the area’s second biggest cancer killer.
Bowel cancer affects 33,000 people every year in England and claims the lives of 13,000.
Nine out of 10 people diagnosed are over 55 and it affects both sexes.
Care services minister Paul Burstow said: “No-one likes talking about their poo – it’s embarrassing.
“But bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer so we need to get over the embarrassment and talk to someone about it.
“The campaign uses simple messages to make people aware of the key symptoms of bowel cancer and to give them the confidence to talk to their GP if they notice the symptoms.”
‘Be Clear on Cancer’ encourages people who have had blood in their poo or loose poo for more than three weeks to see their doctor.
Other symptoms include:
A pain or lump in your stomach
Feeling more tired than usual for some time.
Unexplained weight loss
The new adverts, which are set to run for nine weeks across TV, radio and newspapers, aim to make people aware of the symptoms of bowel cancer and make it easier for them to discuss this with their GP.
It has been estimated that if England’s bowel cancer survival rate matched the best in Europe an additional 1,700 lives would be saved every year.
Director of the Yorkshire Cancer Network Sean Duffy said: “With bowel cancer claiming more than 1,300 lives across Yorkshire and the Humber each year, this campaign is instrumental in raising awareness of the early signs and symptoms and potentially saving lives.
“I urge anyone who is worried about their symptoms to speak to their GP straight away.
“The message is clear – the earlier bowel cancer is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat.
“Your symptoms may be nothing serious, but it is better to have them checked out early to be sure.”
More than 90% of people diagnosed with bowel cancer at an early stage survive for at least five years compared with only 6% of those diagnosed at a late stage.
In 2008, 98 men were diagnosed and 95 women with the disease in Kirklees.
In the same year, 54 men and 30 women died from the disease.
Two thirds of bowel cancers develop in the colon, while the remaining third develops in the rectum.
Bowel cancer is also referred to as colorectal cancer, it includes both cancer of the colon and cancer of the rectum.