I have to be totally honest that until mum was diagnosed with bowel cancer in April 2012 I knew precious little about bowel cancer. Over the 3 years I have got to know a lot more about the disease, and it has become clear how important it is to raise the awareness of this disease. The information is readily available out there but how many people actually actively seek it or are even aware of it? The Beating Bowel Cancer charity which I am supporting has excellent information on its website just click here, and it is from their website that I have sourced my facts.
The basic facts are that bowel cancer is the 2nd biggest cancer killer in the UK, and 41,000 people are diagnosed with it each year, and it claims 16,000 lives. If diagnosed early 90% of cases can be treated successfully. Whilst it is more common to affect people over 50, it is increasingly affecting younger people.
The symptoms can include a persistent change in bowel habit, bleeding from the bottom, abdominal pain, a lump in your tummy and unexplained weight loss.
Risk factors include a high intake of saturated fats, processed or red meat. Drinking more than 4 units of alcohol per day, being overweight, and having an immediate relative with bowel cancer all could increase the chances of being affected by it.
To reduce the risk eat or healthy diet with plenty of fruit, regular exercise to reduce weight, cut down on alcohol, and be aware of any change in bowel habits. My mum recognised a change in her bowel habit and when she was sent to have an endoscopy the bowel cancer was discovered.
It was only once the book was published did I begin to realise how important raising awareness is, and it wasn't just purely about selling copies to raise money for the charity. It was pointed out to me that the articles about the book that appeared in the local papers would be good for raising awareness regardless of how many book sales they generated. So my aim now is still to sell as many copies as possible raising funds for the charity, but each time the book gets bowel cancer mentioned in the media, on social networks or even in normal conversations then hopefully it is playing its part in raising awareness.