Bowel Cancer Awareness Month starts today. Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK, after lung cancer.
More than 93% of people diagnosed at the earliest stage of bowel cancer will survive for more than five years, so early detection is vital.
Many patients self-medicate in the early stages of the disease for symptoms such as a change in bowel habits. Community pharmacists are ideally placed to help with earlier detection of the disease.
Pharmacists and pharmacy staff may see an increase in the number of people asking about relevant symptoms throughout April as cancer charities focus on the key signs and symptoms of bowel cancer:
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 the abdomen
RPS also has information on the early detection of cancer
for pharmacists focusing on bowel, lung, ovarian and oesophago-gastric cancer.