Norwich leads the way on bowel cancer

Kate ScotterNorfolk is continuing to lead the way in bowel cancer screening as a new national campaign is launched to raise awareness of the deadly disease.Kate Scotter

Norfolk is continuing to lead the way in bowel cancer screening as a new national campaign is launched to raise awareness of the deadly disease.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has the highest uptake in the country for the bowel screening programmes, figures have shown.

Hospital records for up until the end of last year show that 2,308 colonoscopies were carried out at the N&N, from which 11pc of people were found to have cancer.

Forty seven per cent had pre cancerous growths, which were subsequently removed and 36pc were suffering no problems. The remaining 6pc were identified as having Crohns disease.

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April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and national charity Beating Bowel Cancer is campaigning throughout the month to make people more aware of the UK's second biggest cancer killer.

Bowel cancer claims 16,000 lives each year yet is one of the most treatable cancers, as more than 90pc of cases could be successfully treated if diagnosed early.

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The N&N screening programme, which was one of the first in the country, enables people aged 60 to 74 to take the test at home.

The test detects tiny traces of blood in faeces and indicates whether further tests are needed in which case they will be invited to see a specialist.

An N&N spokesman said: 'Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in the UK but 90pc of people can survive if it's caught early enough.

'The bowel cancer screening test is a simple test carried out in the privacy of your own home and it can save lives and make a real difference to individuals and their families. We would urge everyone to take up this opportunity.'

Beating Bowel Cancer has launched a number of initiatives to raise awareness of the disease. Throughout April, there will be a Behind Closed Doors in pharmacies across England and Wales to raise awareness of the symptoms of bowel cancer.

There will also be a digital campaign, Cheeky Warning, which will use light hearted imagery and video footage of bowel cancer patients to spread the message about the prevalence of bowel cancer and raise awareness of the high risk symptoms to an online audience.

Hilary Whittaker, chief executive of Beating Bowel Cancer, said: 'Currently almost half of those diagnosed with bowel cancer will die from the disease, yet more than 90 per cent of cases could be successfully treated if diagnosed early.

'Awareness of symptoms is therefore essential to save lives from bowel cancer through early diagnosis.'

For more information about the campaign, go to

Have you got a story to tell? Contact Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email

Symptoms of bowel cancer

Bleeding from the bottom without any obvious reason. If you have other symptoms such as straining, soreness, lumps and itchiness the problem is likely to be piles but it's still important to get this confirmed by your GP.

A persistent change in bowel habit, especially going to the toilet more often or experiencing looser stools for several weeks.

Abdominal pain, especially if severe.

A lump in your tummy.

Weight loss and tiredness.

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