Bowel Cancer – what’s the campaign about?

We think pharmacists have the potential to play a greater role in the early detection of cancer.  Raising awareness and talking to patients about symptoms of bowel cancer really can save lives because it can result in earlier diagnosis and better treatment options.

During Bowel Cancer Awareness Month every April the Royal Pharmaceutical Society raises awareness of bowel cancer symptoms with pharmacists and their customers to help increase early detection of the disease. We work with the charity Beating Bowel Cancer to provide information and support for pharmacists and the public on bowel cancer and bowel cancer screening.

Other parts of our early detection of cancer campaign include supporting the Department of Health's Be Clear on Cancer national campaign on bowel cancer which ran from the end of January until the end of March. We have also conducted a clinical audit on bowel cancer which will contribute to the recognition of the role of community pharmacy in raising awareness of the disease and contribute to the early detection of cancer, as well as providing knowledge for further research and future health campaigns.

Find out more about our early cancer detection campaigns »

Your pharmacist can talk to you about the symptoms of bowel cancer

What are the symptoms of bowel cancer?

The high risk symptoms are:

  • A persistent change in bowel habit, especially going more often or looser stools for several weeks
  • Bleeding from the bottom without any obvious reason
  • Abdominal pain, especially if severe 
  • A lump in your tummy

Anyone experiencing one or more of these symptoms for more than four to six weeks should get advice from their GP.

Early diagnosis saves lives

Over 90% of cases of bowel cancer could be successfully treated if diagnosed early, yet at the moment almost half of the 100 people diagnosed every day in the UK will die from the disease.

It’s vital to be aware of the symptoms of bowel cancer.  It could help save lives through earlier diagnosis and treatment.

Research shows that one in two people are not aware of the most important symptoms of bowel cancer and three-quarters don’t know that bowel cancer is one of the top two causes of cancer deaths.

Useful links

The Society works with experts from the national bowel cancer charity Beating Bowel Cancer. Visit the Beating Bowel Cancer website or call their helpline on 08450 719 301 for further advice and information on bowel cancer.