Tuesday, 23 March 2010

April 2010: Bowel Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM)


 BCAM 2010 is all about making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle in order to help reduce your bowel cancer risk.

In support of this theme, our fundraising focus is Let’s Get Moving. Regular exercise helps to maintain a healthy weight, and research suggests that the more physical activity a person does, the more likely they are to decrease their risk of bowel cancer.
So BCAM 2010 will get you moving - or, more to the point, dancing: we want as many Bowel Cancer UK supporters as possible to organise their own Tea Dance!

How you can help

Whether it’s raising awareness or fundraising, there are many ways you can support BCAM 2010:
1. Promote and display our bowel cancer awareness and BCAM materials in a public place: you can find out more about these and requesting them here
2. Support Let’s Get Moving by organising your own Tea Dance or other fundraising activity (click here to download fundraising pack)
3. Publicise our Bowel Cancer Advisory Service - freephone 0800 8 40 35 40 - whenever you can, so that we can continue to be there for the 37,500 people diagnosed with bowel cancer each year
4. Make simple changes to your diet and lifestyle in order to help reduce your bowel cancer risk of and/or help others to do so. To find out more and to download our helpful factsheets click here
5. Take part in our Hyde Park Walk or organise your own fundraising event (click here to download event form)

Watch this...


'A healthy diet including at least five portions of fruit and veg will reduce the risk of bowel cancer'
Bowel cancer is a general term that is used to describe cancer that begins in the large bowel. Depending on where in the bowel the cancer starts, bowel cancer can sometimes be referred to as colon cancer, or rectal cancer.
Symptoms of bowel cancer include blood in your stools (faeces), an unexplained change in your bowel habits, such as prolonged diarrhoea or constipation, and unexplained weight loss.
Cancer can sometimes start in the small bowel (small intestine), but small bowel cancer is much rarer than large bowel cancer.

The large bowel

The bowel is part of the digestive system. It has two main purposes:
  • to absorb energy, water, and nutrients from the food you eat, and
  • to pass out the remaining waste products from your body in the form of stools.
The large bowel is made up of five sections which are described below.
  • Ascending colon - runs from the end of the small intestine and up the right-hand side of the abdomen.
  • Transverse colon - runs under the stomach and across the body from right to left.
  • Descending colon - runs down the left-hand side of the abdomen.
  • Sigmoid colon - is an ‘S’ shaped bend that connects the descending colon to the rectum (back passage).
  • Rectum - the final section of the bowel; it is a small pouch that is connected to the outside opening of the bowel (the anus) through which stools are passed.

How common is bowel cancer?

In England, bowel cancer is the third most common type of cancer, with an estimated 30,800 new cases diagnosed each year.
About 14,000 cases of bowel cancer are diagnosed in women, making it the second most common cancer in women after breast cancer. The remaining 16,800 cases of bowel cancer are diagnosed in men, making it the third most common cancer in men after prostate and lung cancer.
Approximately 80 per cent of bowel cancer cases develop in people who are 60 years of age or over. Two thirds of bowel cancers develop in the colon, with the remaining third developing in the rectum.
In England, there are an estimated 13,000 deaths as a result of bowel cancer each year.
Risk factors for bowel cancer include:

Bowel cancer screening

In 2006, the NHS launched a screening programme for bowel cancer. It is recommended that all people between 60-69 years of age are screened every two years.
Screening is carried out by taking a small stool (faeces) sample and testing it for the presence of blood.

Screening plays an important part in the fight against bowel cancer because the earlier the cancer is diagnosed the greater the chance is of achieving a complete cure.
See the NHS Cancer screening website for more information about the NHS bowel cancer screening programme.


The outlook for bowel cancer is moderate. About 50 per cent of people with bowel cancer will live for at least five years after receiving a diagnosis (five year survival rate), although many will live much longer than five years.
As with most types of cancer, the outlook for individual cases depends largely on how far the cancer has advanced at the time of diagnosis.
Bowel cancer that is diagnosed in its earliest stages has a five year survival rate of 90 per cent, and a complete cure is usually possible. However, bowel cancer that is diagnosed in its most advanced stage only has a five year survival rate of six per cent and a complete cure is unlikely.

These figures reinforce the importance of screening for bowel cancer.
Bowel cancer can be treated using a combination of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery
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