April is Bowel Cancer Awareness month

Bowel cancer (also known as colon, rectal,anal or colorectal cancer) is the 2nd most common cancer found in men and women in Northern Ireland with 1100 cases being diagnosed each year.  The symptoms include bleeding from and/or blood in your poo, a change in bowel habit lasting for 3 weeks, unexplained weight loss, extreme tiredness and a pain or lump in your tummy.  If you have any of these symptoms you should see your doctor.  However, some people may not have these symptoms.  The Bowel Screening Programme was introduced to the NHSCT in April 2010 with the aim of detecting cancers at an early stage when there are better chances of treatment being effective.

Screening is for men and women aged 60 – 74years. All those within this group, who are registered with a GP, will have the opportunity to be screened every 2 years.   As screening and early diagnosis can save lives, it is recommended that those who receive a screening kit complete the test and return it.

If you have been diagnosed with bowel cancer and live in the Northern Trust you can get advice and support from the specialist team of colorectal nurses, stoma care nurses and a dietitian who have extensive training and experience in caring for people with bowel cancer. They can provide emotional support to you and your family and provide information about your illness and any operations or treatment you may need.  They offer nutritional advice and support and can advise on the management of symptoms such as pain, nausea, constipation and diarrhoea.

The Colorectal Cancer Specialist Nursing and Dietetic team will be out and about in April.  If you have any questions or concerns about bowel cancer, or would like more information, come along and have a chat with them:

Wednesday 11th April 2018 – Loughview Restaurant, Antrim Hospital – 12.00 – 13.30

Wednesday 18th April 2018 – Meadowlane Shopping Centre, Magherafelt – 13.30 – 16.00

Tuesday 24th April 2018 – main entrance, Causeway Hospital – 13.30 – 16.00

Monday 30th April 2018 – coffee morning in the Board Room, McCaughey House, Whiteabbey Hospital – 8.45 – 12.00

The Macmillan Information and Support service works alongside this team and offers anyone affected by cancer a free, informal and confidential listening service, access to benefits advice by a specialist advisor, and links to local support services. At the entrance to Causeway Hospital there is a Macmillan Information Pod where there are free booklets and leaflets on all aspects of cancer.  Some are available in different languages and some formats may be useful for people with special needs.

For further information on the Bowel Screening Programme contact the Specialist Screening Practitioners (SSP) on  028 9055 2529.

To contact the Colorectal Specialist Nursing and Dietetic Team ring 028 9442 4620.

The Macmillan Information and Support Service can be contacted on 028 9442 4000 ext 333079/334046, mobile 077 9584 5435, or by email CancerInformation @northerntrust.hscni.net