By Claire Tennyson

Approximately 27 people in South Belfast die every year as a result of bowel cancer, according to figures released last week.

Statistics stated on average 60 people in South Belfast are diagnosed with the disease every year.

In light of the latest figures the local cancer charity Action Cancer is encouraging men and women in the region to be aware of the symptoms of the disease and to seek advice immediately if they have any concerns.

Bowel cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in Northern Ireland and the second most common cause of death from cancer.

Approximately 1000 people are diagnosed and 440 die from the disease here every year.

Head of Professional Services for Action Cancer, Gearldine Kerr, said: “Bowel cancer is more common in older people, with around 80 per cent of bowel cancers occurring in people aged over 60.

“If bowel cancer is detected in its earliest stages the individual has more than a nine in 10 chance of surviving the disease so we need to ensure that the public are aware of the most common early signs and symptoms like having blood in your stools, loose and more frequent bowel movements or pain and swelling in your abdomen for a prolonged length of time.”

If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms and they do not go away within two to six weeks, it is recommended you seek advice from your GP immediately.

The Northern Ireland bowel cancer screening programme offers screening every two years to men and women aged 60 to 71, and aims to increase the proportion of cases detected at an early stage of the disease, before symptoms develop and when the chance of successful treatment is greatest.

For more information about the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer please visit www.actioncancer.org to download the ‘Don’t just sit on your symptoms’ bowel cancer leaflet or pick up a copy at your local Gordon’s Chemist.  To find out more on the Northern Ireland Screening Programme please visit www.cancerscreening.n-i.nhs.uk.

 

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