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Cornwall LivingAutumn 2018

Prevention is key

We hear how important it is to monitor your bowel health from the experts at Duchy Hospital.

The thought of developing cancer is a scary prospect, but it’s important to tackle it head on. We hear how best to approach the issue from the experts at Duchy Hospital. Mr Denzil May, General and Colorectal Surgeon tells us: “Colorectal (bowel) cancer is one of the most common cancers, with approximately 40,000 new cases per year in the UK. It can affect anybody although it becomes more common in people over the age of 50. And whilst most cases of bowel cancer are sporadic (no clear cause) there are certain modifiable risk factors that people could address. This includes maintaining a healthy body weight, regular exercise, eating a diet containing fresh fruit and vegetables and avoiding processed foods, particularly processed meats.”

involves regular check-ups as the best way to fight cancer is to catch it early”

Often it’s the case when it comes to cancer that prevention is key, and as well as maintaining a healthy lifestyle, this also involves regular check-ups as the best way to fight cancer is to catch it early. Mr May explains: “Bowel cancer tends to develop from ‘pre-cancerous-polyps so there is an opportunity to prevent bowel cancer by treating polyps before they become malignant. I would encourage all patients to take part in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme. This involves a two-yearly stool sample to detect blood, sent out in the post to patients from the age of 60, and more recently an additional single flexible sigmoidoscopy at the age of 55.”

As well as participating in screenings, another thing to monitor is whether you have any symptoms. Mr May tells us: “Bowel symptoms are common and are usually self-limiting and settle down. However, symptoms that persist should be investigated as they may be an early sign of bowel cancer.” Symptoms include: cramping abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, iron deficiency anaemia, persistent change in bowel habit, rectal bleeding, a feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that’s not relieved by having one, or feeling a lump in the tummy. Patients with one or more of these symptoms should book an appointment to see their doctor as it could be a sign of polyps developing. The team at Duchy Hospital are experts in their field and are here to help combat and prevent the onset of cancer, so make sure to get in touch for further information on the diagnostic procedures or to book an initial consultation.

 

Did you know?

Duchy Hospital can offer a rapid access service to appointments and diagnostic procedures with a team of specialist consultants.

"involves regular check-ups as the best way to fight cancer is to catch it early"