April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and Burnetts are helping to raise awareness for this very important cause. Bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, affects the large bowel which is made up of the colon and rectum. In the UK, bowel cancer causes 16,600 deaths every year making it the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK. More than 42,000 people are diagnosed with the disease every year in the UK.
Common symptoms of bowel cancer include:
- Bleeding from the bottom and/or blood in faeces
- A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit
- Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
- A pain or lump in the stomach area
Many people may find it difficult to speak to their GPs about these symptoms and research from Bowel Cancer UK shows that around half of adults are not aware of the signs they could have bowel cancer.
Early diagnosis is shown to be absolutely vital in bowel cancer cases. If the diagnosis is made early then the prognosis is vastly improved. 95% of men and almost 100% of women diagnosed with Stage 1 bowel cancer will survive their cancer for 5 years or more. Sadly by the time the cancer has progressed to Stage 4, the prognosis is poor. Only 5% of men and 10% of women diagnosed with Stage 4 bowel cancer will survive for 5 years or more.
It is estimated that 54% of bowel cancer cases are preventable and are most often attributed to a lack of dietary fibre, eating meat and obesity. Those most at risk tend to:
- Have family history of bowel cancer
- Have genetic condition linked to bowel cancer
- Have other inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn’s disease
- Have an unhealthy lifestyle
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on cancer services in the UK and there has been a significant decrease in the number of people referred, diagnosed and treated for bowel cancer. Sadly, it seems very likely that this will have resulted in an avoidable increase in the number of bowel cancer deaths and a reduction in life expectancy for those diagnosed at a later stage.
Now more than ever it is so important to raise awareness of bowel cancer, the symptoms and the importance of early diagnosis. Burnetts fully support Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and we would encourage you to take some time to learn more about bowel cancer and how to spot the early signs. We recommend visiting https://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/
for more information or if you have concerns about your own health to speak to your GP as soon as possible.
How Burnetts can help
The Medical Negligence and Serious Injury team at Burnetts have considerable experience and expertise acting for individuals and families affected by cancer. Our solicitors are members of both the Law Society and AvMA specialist clinical negligence panels. If you have any concerns about the treatment received by you or someone you know, for example where there may have been a delay in diagnosing or treating cancer, this may amount to medical negligence and you may be entitled to bring a claim for compensation to assist you and your family at this difficult time.
If you would like to speak to someone about whether you may have a clinical negligence claim then please contact our offices on 01228 552222.