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April 9, 2018Bowel Cancer Awareness
April is Bowel Cancer UK’s annual Bowel Cancer Awareness Month campaign, used as a vehicle to help raise awareness of bowel cancer. Although there has been a great deal in the news about other types of cancer (most notably prostate and ovarian), bowel cancer tends to get far less coverage even though it is treatable if diagnosed early.
What are the symptoms?
Common symptoms of bowel cancer include:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Abdominal pain/discomfort/swelling
- Bowel movements that have become softer or more watery
- Extreme tiredness for no reason
Is there a test for bowel cancer?
There are two main tests used for detecting bowel cancer – both tests look for tiny traces of blood in a sample of your stool. The FOB test (faecal occult blood test) is the standard test, but it does have limitations. For example, the FOB test may require you to avoid certain medications and follow certain dietary restrictions (such as cutting out red meat and vitamin C) before your test.
Unlike the FOB test, the FIT test (Faecal Immunochemical Test) does not require you to change your diet or medication prior to your sample being analysed. The FIT test isn’t currently available through the NHS in all areas of the UK, but it is the test we use at Bluecrest.
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