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Bowel cancer checks in North Yorkshire

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12:01am 1st September 2011

NHS North Yorkshire and York, in collaboration with the Yorkshire Cancer Network, has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the symptoms of bowel cancer and the importance of getting them checked by your GP.

The campaign forms part of NHS North Yorkshire and York's commitment to improving early diagnosis of cancer and encourages people who have blood in their poo, or whose poo has been looser for three weeks or more, to seek advice from their GP.

A recent study of more than 1,500 people found that many did not know that lifestyle factors such as diet, weight and exercise affected risk. The research also raised concerns around the lack of knowledge about symptoms.

Dr Martin Hawkings, Public Health Consultant for NHS North Yorkshire and York, said:

"Significant numbers of deaths could be avoided if cancer survival in Britain matched that of other parts of Europe.

"Bowel cancer is the second biggest cause of cancer deaths in the UK.

"Nationally, it's estimated that up to 10,000 deaths within five years of diagnosis of cancer could be avoided if people were more aware of the signs and got them checked out.

"Embarrassment is often a key barrier to people getting symptoms checked, but I'd like to reassure people that all GPs in the area are aware of the campaign and are expecting an increase in enquiries from patients in relation to these symptoms."

 "The bottom line is - if you have had blood in your poo, or it has been looser for three weeks or more, you should contact your GP."

The 'Be Clear on Cancer' campaign will run throughout September across North Yorkshire and York.

Dr Joan Meakins, GP cancer lead for Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

"Having blood in your poo is a very common symptom that GPs deal with every day.

"Many patients can have treatment prescribed by their own doctor but some patients will need to have further investigations. There are special clinics at hospitals to undertake these investigations and to make a diagnosis as quickly as possible.

"All the staff are trained to treat patients with these symptoms in a very sensitive way, so there is no need to feel embarrassed about telling your doctor and getting the correct treatment."

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