Old Catton man’s life saved by simple test

An Old Catton man has told how a simple routine test may have helped to save his life and is now urging others to ensure they take part in bowel cancer screening.

Richard King, who is chairman of the Norfolk County Football Association, was sent one of the bowel cancer screening tests last October.

He had no symptoms of the disease, but the faecal occult blood test detected tiny amounts of blood which cannot normally be seen in bowel motions, and which can be a sign of cancer.

Mr King, who lives in Norman Drive with his wife Paula, was given an appointment for a colonoscopy at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

The 67-year-old said: 'They found a big lump of cancer in my bowel and within a month I had had an operation to remove it.'

Because the cancer was caught at an early stage, it had not spread and Mr King does not even require a course of chemotherapy. He said: 'I just feel very lucky to have had it picked up through the test.

'I know others have not been so lucky and only find out when it's terminal. I would urge anybody who receives one of these to send it off, as it could save their life.'

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The grandfather-of-two also says the diagnosis has helped two of his children as the disease can be hereditary and they now know to get tested regularly.

He said: 'I have to say the N&N has been brilliant throughout. The way the staff communicated with me and kept in touch with me through a key worker was very helpful.' Last month the East of England was unveiled as one of two regions which will be piloting the first ever government cancer awareness campaign to highlight the early signs and symptoms of bowel cancer.

The 'Be Clear on Cancer' campaign features real GPs encouraging patients to talk to them about changes in their faeces. The new television, radio and newspaper adverts aim to make people aware of the early signs of bowel cancer and make it easier for them to discuss this with their GP.

The NHS bowel cancer screening programme offers screening every two years to all men and women aged 60 to 69.

People over 70 can request a screening kit by calling the freephone helpline on 0800 707 6060.