Too many bowel cancer sufferers are being diagnosed late because they are embarrassed or have not recognised the symptoms, an expert has argued.
Mark Flannagan, chief executive of Beating Bowel Cancer, explained many people ignore symptoms because they do not want to talk to a GP about them.
But with a study by Cancer Research UK this week showing awareness of signs and causes is very low despite the disease being the country's third most common form of cancer, Mr Flannagan also suggested lack of recognition of symptoms is a major problem.
He urged people to learn about the condition, highlighting a persistent change in bowel habits, abdominal pain and unexplained weight loss or tiredness as being among the common indicators.
"If diagnosed early, over 90 per cent of bowel cancer patients could be successfully treated, but currently around half of patients are diagnosed with advanced cancer," Mr Flannagan said.