April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, and people in Wolverhampton are being reminded of the importance of regular screening.

The earlier bowel cancer is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme is available once every 2 years to everyone aged 56 to 74 who is registered with a GP. 

Residents will automatically be sent an invitation, then their screening kit, so they can complete the test in the privacy of their own home, and the results will determine whether further tests are required. 

People who are eligible but have not received an invite are asked to call 0800 707 6060. Anyone who isn't registered with a GP can find out how to do so at NHS GPs

John Denley, Wolverhampton’s Director of Public Health, said: “Bowel cancer is a terrible disease and sadly claims the lives of thousands of people every year. 

“Early diagnosis is crucial for increasing the survival rate – and when cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, people have a much higher chance of successful treatment than those whose cancer has become more widespread. 

“Screening is used to detect bowel cancer when it is at an early stage in people with no symptoms. This is when treatment is more likely to be effective. 

“Screening can also find polyps; these are abnormal clumps of cells in the bowel. Polyps are not cancers, but may develop into cancers over time. Polyps can be easily removed, which reduces the risk of bowel cancer developing.

"We are supporting Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and encouraging people in Wolverhampton who are aged 56 to 74 and eligible for the screening programme to take the test when they receive it."

People who are not eligible for screening, but have concerns that something is not quite right, should speak to their GP as soon as possible. Symptoms may include: 

  • changes in your poo, such as having softer poo, diarrhoea or constipation
  • needing to poo more or less often than usual for you
  • blood in your poo, which may look red or black
  • bleeding from your bottom
  • often feeling like you need to poo, even if you've just been to the toilet
  • tummy pain
  • a lump in your tummy
  • bloating
  • losing weight without trying
  • feeling very tired for no reason

The risk of developing bowel cancer can be reduced by cutting down on red and processed meats, eating 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables every day, keeping to a healthy weight, exercising regularly, stopping smoking and reducing alcohol intake.

For more information on bowel cancer screening, please visit Bowel cancer screening

To find out more about Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, which runs throughout April and is organised by the charity Bowel Cancer UK, please visit Bowel Cancer UK