AN awareness campaign is taking place to try to stop preventable deaths from bowel cancer.
The Be Clear on Cancer initiative focuses on the early signs and symptoms of bowel cancer and encourages patients to tell their GP if they think something is wrong.
Research shows that more than 90 per cent of bowel cancer patients diagnosed with the earliest stage of the disease survive five years from diagnosis compared to just 6.6 per cent of those diagnosed with advanced disease.
And it is estimated that 1,700 deaths could be avoided nationally each year if people were diagnosed sooner.
NHS North East has been working with the North of England Cancer Network on the campaign and last year carried out a shopping centre roadshow, worked in partnership with Cancer Research UK’s Race For Life and provided information in the region’s GP practices on breast, bowel and lung cancers.
Director of Public Health for the NHS North of England Cancer Network Nonnie Crawford said: “Whilst people in the North East and Cumbria have access to some of the best cancer services and treatments in the country, sometimes people are contacting their GP with symptoms of cancer much later than they could.
“If people become more aware of signs and symptoms of cancer it could have a huge impact on their health and even save their life.”
Symptoms may include blood in faeces for three weeks or more, a pain or lump in the stomach, fatigue and weight loss.