A GIANT inflatable bowel will be the centrepiece of a roadshow that is visiting Suffolk and north east Essex next week to raise awareness of bowel cancer.
The inflatable bowel, which measures 19 feet by six feet, is an interactive way to demonstrate the stages of bowel cancer and other bowel conditions.
Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK and the second biggest cancer killer. More than 16,500 people die from the disease in the UK every year.
Nearly 43,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year and there are around 268,000 people currently living in the UK today with the disease.
The Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System has teamed up with Bowel Cancer UK to bring the giant inflatable prop to our area.
April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and local clinicians will be supporting experts from the charity to help raise awareness of the disease.
The roadshow is visiting The Arc shopping centre in Bury St Edmunds on Monday (April 25) and Ipswich’s Sailmakers shopping centre on Tuesday (April 26) from 9am to 5.30pm.
It will then travel to north east Essex on Wednesday (April 27) where it will be at Clacton’s Town Square (aka Christmas Tree Island) from 9am to 12.30pm and Colchester’s Culver Square from 1pm to 5.30pm.
Dr Pete Holloway, Cancer Lead for the NHS Ipswich & East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Bowel cancer affects the large bowel, which is made up of the colon and rectum.
“The cells in your body normally divide and grow in a controlled way, but when cancer develops the cells change and can grow in an uncontrolled way.
“Cancer cells may stay in the bowel or they might spread to other parts of the body, like the liver or lungs.
“Most bowel cancers develop from pre-cancerous growths called polyps, but not all polyps develop into cancer.
“If your doctor finds any polyps, he or she can remove them to prevent them becoming cancerous.”
Health chiefs are encouraging anyone experiencing bowel cancer symptoms to contact their GP without delay.
Symptoms of bowel cancer can include:
· bleeding from the bottom and/or blood in your poo
· a persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit
· unexplained weight loss
· extreme tiredness for no obvious reason, and
· a pain or lump in your tummy.
Dr Holloway added: “If you notice any symptoms or signs that might be bowel cancer, or if things in your gut just don't feel right, please contact your GP.
“While the disease largely affects people over the age of 50, more than 2,600 under 50s are diagnosed each year, so it's really important people seek advice as soon as possible – whatever their age – if they're worried. GPs are able to provide a new, easy to use ,test called FIT (faecal immunochemical testing) which can help to exclude cancer as a cause of symptoms.
“And if you’re aged between 60 and 74, please complete the bowel cancer screening kit that will be posted to every two years. Screening helps to detect bowel cancer at an early stage, when treatment has the best chance of working.”