People who suspect that they have the symptoms of bowel cancer have been urged to visit their GP if the symptoms continue for three weeks or more.
Mark Flannagan, chief executive of Beating Bowel Cancer, said that people should also be aware of any family members who have been diagnosed because this can increase their risk.
However, anybody who is keen to limit their chance of developing the cancer should be aware that there is a number of dietary and lifestyle factors that can reduce the risk of developing bowel cancer.
"Overall it is important to eat a healthy balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and whole grains," said Mr Flannagan.
He added that red and processed meats should be eaten in moderation, while alcohol intake should also be limited.
The comments follow studies by charity Cancer Research UK, which found that bowel cancer rates in 60 to 69-year-olds went up by 12 per cent between 2006 and 2008.
While this is substantially higher than the decade's average increase, it occurred in conjunction with the introduction of bowel screening for people in this age gap.
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Cancer treatment news : 31 March 2011