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Never Too Young

As many of our cancer travel insurance customers will know, April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month.  Run by Bowel Cancer UK,  the aim is to raise awareness and de-stigmatise the third most common cancer.

One of the themes is awareness for those under 50, reminding everyone you are never too young to get bowel cancer.

According to Bowel Cancer UK the number of people under 50 being diagnosed with bowel cancer is slowly rising. Another issue for sufferers of the condition is the fact that because the symptoms can be considered embarrassing or awkward, the disease isn’t usually diagnosed until it is more advanced. Survival rates of bowel cancer are way behind those in Europe as most patients are just too embarrassed to see a GP and get it sorted. Each year, thousands die of bowel cancer, so Bowel Cancer UK raises awareness and encourages others, particularly younger people and those under 50 to be aware of the symptoms behind the disease.

In 2009, 2,132 people under 50 were diagnosed with bowel cancer, compared to 1999, when 1,698 people under 50 were diagnosed, over the decade the increase has been just over 25% which is a concern.
The main problem in diagnosing bowel cancer or, any cancer, in those under 50 is often misdiagnosis. In younger people the medical profession tend to leave cancer last to rule out, furthermore the symptoms of bowel cancer can be very similar to other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), so it is understandable why is can be misdiagnosed. However, the key to a good outcome is early diagnosis, so we need to be aware of the signs of bowel cancer and go to the GP if you have any of the symptoms, and insist that your GP rules out bowel cancer first not last. The symptoms to look out for are:

  • Dark or black stools (could indicate bleeding)
  • An unexplained change in bowel habits
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Anaemia
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Bloating and/or vomiting

I can’t stress enough that the best outcomes from cancer treatment comes from early diagnosis, so awareness is key.
At Insurancewith we are proud to support the cancer charity Fighting All Cancers Together (FACT) who have a range of programmes with local businesses to raise awareness of cancer and its symptoms, and these type of programs are paramount in tackling this disease head on.
Another concern can also be that younger people are more embarrassed to visit their GP and discuss things such as their bowel movements, but trust me you have nothing to be embarrassed about, your GP has heard it all before and then some! So don’t die of embarrassment, make that appointment.

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