Staff at BMI Ross Hall Hospital in Glasgow have been involved in a number of awareness and fundraising activities to generating awareness and vital funds for the charity Beating Bowel Cancer’s 2011 ‘BE LOUD BE CLEAR’ campaign. Fronted by former England Rugby captain Matt Dawson, theinitiative aims to encourage people to be loud and clear about the symptoms and treatments available for the disease, which is the third most common cancer in Scotland, with over 3,000 diagnosed each year and second largest cause of cancer related deaths in the UK after lung cancer, claiming 50 lives every day.
Staff at Ross Hall Hospital participated in a number of activities in celebration of BE LOUD BE CLEAR, including selling colourful cakes, a ‘fill the pan with cash’ collection and organising a most loud dress competition raising over £144 for the charity.
Mr Jim McCourtney, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon and bowel specialist at BMI Ross Hall Hospitalsays, “Over the years I have treated many patients affected by bowel cancer. The willingness of patients to speak openly and honestly with their doctors about their bowel symptoms can make a huge difference in their health outcome. I along with the staff at Ross Hall Hospital am proud to support Beating Bowel Cancer’s efforts. We very much hope that our participation in the event can help encourage people to become more aware of the disease.”
Mr Jim McCourtneyanswers common questions about Bowel Cancer:
1. What are the symptoms of bowel cancer? The most common symptoms to look out for are a persistent change in your bowel habit, particularly if you find you are going more often and are looser for a number of weeks. If you have bleeding from your bottom that you cannot explain, sudden tiredness or weight loss then you should be checked out by your GP.
2. At what age should I start worrying about bowel cancer? The average age of patients diagnosed with bowel cancer is 75 years old. However, bowel cancer can affect people of any age. Up to 10% of the people affected are under 50 with some patients in their late teens and early twenties being diagnosed with bowel cancer. It is important that both males and females of all ages actively take responsibility for their own bowel health. If you notice any changes in your bowel you should speak to your GP.
3. How do I get screened for bowel cancer? The NHS actively screens for bowel cancer in people over 60 years of age. However BMI Healthcare hospitals provide bowel cancer screening to patients over 45. If you have any symptoms of bowel cancer or have a strong family history of the disease then you will be automatically referred for screening by your GP. Specialist bowel cancer screening is a quick, safe and effective way to put your mind at rest.
4. What are the causes of bowel cancer? There is often no obvious cause for bowel cancer. However if you have a close relative who has had bowel cancer then you are at more risk of inheriting the disease. Other factors, which may increase your chance of contracting bowel cancer, are a diet that is high in fat and red meat but low in fibre, fruit and vegetables. It is important to exercise regularly and to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
5. Is there anything I can do to prevent developing bowel cancer? It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer, so that if you notice any change in your bowel health you can seek medical advice quickly. It’s estimated that around 90% of cases could be treated successfully if caught early enough. Above all, the best way of preventing bowel cancer developing is to avoid obesity. Obesity is the major risk factor for bowel cancer. If you maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly then you can lower your chance of getting bowel cancer by 50%.
Executive Director of Ross Hall Hospital Mhairi Jefferies said, “The event was a great success. Everyone got involved and had fun making noise about an extremely worthy cause. Bowel cancer is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer, yet there are still people that are unaware about the symptoms of the disease. We hope that our efforts will help further people’s understanding of the illness.”