Saturday, 31 December 2016

Raising Bowel Cancer Awareness

To see how to buy the Lives & Times book click here.

It wasn’t until I published the first book, Beating Bowel Cancer, in 2012 that I realised just how important it is to help raise awareness about bowel cancer. Initially I thought the job of the book was to raise funds for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. After a few weeks when the sales started to drop off I was left feeling a little flat, as I wondered what next? The charity were amazing, and they pointed out that as well as raising money, the book was also doing a great job about raising awareness. The penny then dropped! Since then I try do to as much as I can to help raise bowel cancer awareness.
I have to be totally honest that until Mum was diagnosed with bowel cancer in April 2012 I knew precious little about bowel cancer. Over the last 4 years I have got to know a lot more about the disease, and it has become clear how important it is to raise the awareness of this disease. Sadly Mum passed away on August 29th, 2016. The information is readily available out there but how many people actually actively seek it or are even aware of it? The Beating Bowel Cancer charity which I am supporting has excellent information on its website just click here, and it is from their website that I have sourced my facts. 

The basic facts are that bowel cancer is the 2nd biggest cancer killer in the UK, and 41,000 people are diagnosed with it each year, and it claims 16,000 lives. If diagnosed early 90% of cases can be treated successfully. Whilst it is more common to affect people over 50, it is increasingly affecting younger people.

The symptoms can include a persistent change in bowel habit, bleeding from the bottom, abdominal pain, a lump in your tummy, and unexplained weight loss and tiredness.

Risk factors include a high intake of saturated fats, processed or red meat. Drinking more than 4 units of alcohol per day, being overweight, and having an immediate relative with bowel cancer all could increase the chances of being affected by it.

To reduce the risk eat or healthy diet with plenty of fruit, regular exercise to reduce weight, cut down on alcohol, and be aware of any change in bowel habits. My Mum recognised a change in her bowel habit and when she was sent to have an endoscopy the bowel cancer was discovered.

In November 2015 I published Lives & Times, of which all the proceeds I receive are donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. The amount raised so far stands at over £3250. The idea of photographing people for it was not just about trying to generate more sales. By hopefully reaching a wider audience it will help spread the message about bowel cancer. The people who feature in the book gave up their time and services for free, and many of them have also helped to promote the book, thereby spreading the message about bowel cancer as far and wide as is possible. Some of these people such as Ben Richards have beaten the illness, whilst others like Freya North, Matthew Wright and Christopher Biggins have lost people to it. The message is clear, that by raising bowel cancer awareness, more people can be detected early and lives can be saved.
By raising awareness about bowel cancer we can share the message that bowel cancer, bums and poo are nothing to be embarrassed about, and learning the symptoms and acting on them could save lives.
If just one person gets checked out and has their life saved as a result of reading the Beating Bowel Cancer or Lives & Times books, or any other bowel cancer literature / raising awareness scheme then the efforts become so worthwhile.
When you go to the loo don’t forget to check your poo!

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