MORE people have been searching for bowel cancer symptoms online after Jeremy Bowen revealed he is battling the disease.
The veteran broadcaster opened up on BBC Breakfast this week after having surgery to remove a cancerous tumour in November.
Getty Images – Getty Jeremy Bowen revealed he’s battling bowel cancer earlier this week
He didn’t suffer any of the usual “red-flag symptoms” but was worried about some “funny pains” in his leg and back so went to see his GP.
The 59-year-old was sent for tests and later told he had bowel cancer.
His interview, which marked the start of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, prompted more people to search for the disease online.
In fact, the NHS’s bowel cancer information page received 4,735 visits on Monday – up from 1,639 visits over the previous 24 hours and more than double last year’s average of 1,816 daily page views.
‘Stop being prudish’
Celia Ingham-Clark, medical director for clinical effectiveness at NHS England and a leading bowel specialist, thanked the journalist as she spoke about the “Bowen bounce”.
She added: “It’s vital to get worrying symptoms checked out as soon as possible so something serious can be ruled out, or people can be referred for testing and treatment.
“As a nation we need to stop being so prudish about poo. How often someone goes and consistency, or finding blood in poo, can be an early indicator that something isn’t right.
“Our trips to the toilet can give vital clues to our health which shouldn’t be ignored.”
Our trips to the toilet can give vital clues to our health which shouldn’t be ignoredCelia Ingham-Clarkmedical director for clinical effectiveness at NHS England
The BBC’s Middle East editor said: “I spoke out to encourage people to get tested. You can be cured of bowel cancer if you catch it early. Don’t be embarrassed, ask your doctor.”
Jeremy’s symptoms may have been caught sooner had he been eligible for screening at 50 as they do in Scotland.
But at 59 and living in England, he missed out on being screen for bowel cancer by a year.
The Sun’s No Time 2 Lose campaign called for screening to be brought into line across the four nations and last summer, health secretary Matt Hancock agreed.
But almost a year on, the Government have yet to set out a time frame for lowering the age limit.
It’s something campaigners and charities, including Bowel Cancer UK, say could save thousands of lives.
You can be cured of bowel cancer if you catch it early. Don’t be embarrassed, ask your doctorJeremy BowenBBC journalist and bowel cancer patient
Deborah Alsina, chief executive of Bowel Cancer UK, said: “We are incredibly grateful to our patron Jeremy Bowen for speaking so openly about his bowel cancer diagnosis.
“It’s only by talking publicly about this disease and raising awareness that we can encourage more people to take action if they have concerns.
“Every year in the UK, nearly 42,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer, making it the UK’s second biggest cancer killer.
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“Being aware of the symptoms and visiting your GP if things don’t feel right can help increase chances of an early diagnosis.
“Your doctor sees people with bowel concerns every day so there is nothing to be embarrassed about. It could save your life.
“It is also important that people without symptoms take part in the NHS bowel cancer screening programme when invited to do so as this provides the best chance of an early diagnosis.”
BBC He spoke about the diagnosis on BBC Breakfast
Bowel Cancer UK These are the red-flag warning signs that mean you could have bowel cancer
The Sun Online’s Deborah James urges you to learn the signs of bowel cancer on Lorraine
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