GPs encourage local people to get to know their bowels

Date: 01 April 2016

April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and GPs in Bromley are reminding local people to ensure they take part in regular screening. Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in the UK. However, if diagnosed in the early stages, it’s highly treatable.  It is estimated that there will be 203 diagnoses of bowel cancer across Bromley each year. Regular screening can help to save lives.

Symptoms of bowel cancer may include: 

  • bleeding from the bottom
  • blood in your poo - which can be dark in colour
  • a change in your normal bowel habit lasting three weeks or more
  • extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
  • unexplained weight loss

If you notice these symptoms, speak to your GP. And remember - you can talk to your GP about anything. They've seen it all before, so there’s no need to be embarrassed.  Dr Nicolas Milhavy, Macmillan GP Bromley, said “Our bowels may not be on the top of our list of things to talk about, but it’s important that we do”.

“Screening plays an important part in the fight against bowel cancer, because the earlier the cancer is diagnosed, the greater the chance it can be cured completely. There are lots of things you can do to help reduce your risk of bowel cancer, like trying to maintain a diet high in fibre, for example by eating wholegrains such as brown rice and granary bread as well as avoiding too many processed meats; such as ham, bacon and sausages”

Dr Milhavy goes onto explain that “Exercise, not smoking and drinking alcohol in line with the governments’ alcohol guidance will reduce the risk of bowel cancer as well as many others.”

“Further it should be encouraged for patients to seek review if a strong family history of bowel cancer is present, particularly if diagnosis in a family member has occurred at a younger age than one would expect.”

Older people are most at risk of bowel cancer, but younger people can be affected too. Currently, everyone between the ages of 60 and 69 who is registered with a GP is offered bowel cancer screening every two years.  People in this age group will automatically be sent an invitation followed by a screening kit so they can do the test at home. The problem is that far too few people with bowel cancer are diagnosed in the early stages. Some people either find it uncomfortable to discuss the symptoms or simply do not know what they are. For more information on screening and symptoms go to NHS Choices at or visit Bowel Cancer UK at

  • Summary:

    GPs in Bromley are reminding local people to ensure they take part in regular screening

NHS Bromley CCG, Global House, 10 Station Approach, Bromley, BR2 7EH

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