Bowel Cancer Awareness

It's Bowel Cancer Awareness month, and a new campaign is being launched by charity, Beating Bowel Cancer. It aims to save lives by encouraging early detection of the UK's second biggest cancer killer. Having teamed up with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, people will for the first time be able to seek advice on the symptoms of bowel cancer from their local pharmacy.


The ‘Behind Closed Doors’ campaign aims to save lives by using pharmacists to raise awareness of the symptoms of bowel cancer, commonly confused with those of constipation/ piles. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain is issuing guidance to 11,933 pharmacies so that pharmacists will be able to detect and advise on bowel cancer symptoms. Each day in the UK 100 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer, and almost half of these will die, yet over 90% of cases could be successfully treated if diagnosed early.


There is a pharmacy on every high street, and we visit them twice as much as the GP, but less than half of us (44%) seek advice from a pharmacist when feeling unwell. People are being urged to make use of their local pharmacist as a first port of call – they are highly trained healthcare professionals and the public are not making use of their expertise.


· Bowel cancer is the second most common cancer in the UK

· Each year more than 37,500 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK, that’s more than 100 people every day.

· Bowel cancer is the second most common cancer in women after breast cancer, with around 17,000 new cases diagnosed in 2006.

· Around 20,400 men are diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK each year making it the third most common cancer in men after prostate and lung cancer.

· Over 8 in 10 bowel cancer cases occur in people aged 60 and over.

· Worldwide over a million new cases of bowel cancer were diagnosed in 2002.