SEP 00] COVENTRY
HEALTH AUTHORITY NEWS
Get Over the 'Poo Taboo' and Help Fight Cancer
Older people could
help save their own lives if they can lose their inhibitions over the
‘poo taboo’ and take part in a trial to cut down on bowel cancer
deaths that was launched today.
and Warwickshire has been picked for a national trial to screen older
people to catch symptoms so action can be taken before the killer
disease takes over.
think there could be a problem of embarrassment with people having to
collect their own samples of poo, smear them on to a card with a
lollipop stick and then post them to a hospital.
It might cause people
to snigger, or be revolted, but health officials are convinced that
lives will be saved, if they can encourage of those they wish to help
to overcome inhibitions and get them to take part.
Letters have started
to go out this week inviting people to join in.
They will be sent out
over the next two years so that every patient aged 50 to 69 with a
Coventry and Warwickshire doctor will have been invited to take part.
The pilot will be
analysed and is likely to go nationwide, if people do respond and take
It will mean packages
being sent to 172,000 men and women, and it is hoped at least 60 per
cent will take part, and ideally many more.
Bowel cancer can lurk
in bodies for up to 10 years before it is detected, but when symptoms
start to show, those afflicted may only have weeks left to live. Only
half of people who have developed it can be saved under the present
World Cup hero Bobby
Moore and TC sports presenter Helen Rollason were lost to bowel
cancer. Lynn Faulds Wood, the former Watchdog TV presenter, was able
to seek help and was saved.
David Laughton, chief
executive of the Walsgrave NHS Trust said of the trial:
and Warwickshire has been picked because of the population. With about
one million people, some deprived areas and some very affluent areas
which means we reflect the country as a whole.
going into this with our eyes open. It is a pilot and I have no doubt
there will be problems on the way.”
He said it
was also a non-teaching hospital and already had a good reputation on
Patnik, co coordinator with the NHS Cancer screening programme, said:
looking to reduce the figure by at least 10 per cent over the next two
years. What we are leaning in Coventry and Warwickshire will be a model
for the rest of the country.”
there were 34,000 new cases of bowel cancer each year in the UK, with
17,000 people dying.
consultant surgeon and director of the pilot, explained that bowel cancer
was ‘lurking danger’ with people having ’10 silent years’ where
the person probably did not know they had it, followed by about two months
But by then,
it is probably too late for many people. He said this screening progamme
won’t save everyone, but it will help many people:
a break through. We have had nothing like this in the past.”
staff want to stress that the tests are safe, simple and private, with no
risks and no side effects, and will end up saving lives. If the scheme end
up going across the country, about 2,500 people will be saved each year.
that eating more fruit and vegetables can only help, and ideally people
should have five pieces of fruit and veg each day to help prevent bowel
finding blood in their stools when they go to the toilet put it down to
piles, or are embarrassed to seek further help.
will look for blood in poo, which is a sign - but not a conclusive
one - that people have bowel cancer.
thought about two per cent of people who send in their samples will be
asked back for further tests.
Warwickshire people who have successful overcome cancer treatment gave
their backing to the scheme which was launched today at Walsgrave Hospital
a college lecturer from Rugby, is now in the clear after having a
potential cancerous polyp removed from her colon.
noted blood on toilet paper after she had been to the loo and went to her
GP, and was then referred to the rectal bleed clinic in the town.
following this appointment, I had a flexible sigmoidoscopy and a polyp
was removed. The surgeon, Mr Parker, decided that it would be safer to
remove part of my colon as the poly showed signs of malignant cells.
operations took place on 1 August 1998 and after a six-monthly and
yearly check-up I have been clear to date.
advice to anyone is to be aware, look out for the symptoms – do not be
embarrassed to talk about them. Early detection of bowel cancer is
vital, hence my support for the NHS Colorectal Screening Programme.”
queries should ring 01788 545161 on weekdays from 9am to 5pm