General Health Promotion

Bowel Screening


Bowel cancer is a general term for cancer that begins in the large bowel. Depending on where the cancer starts, bowel cancer is sometimes called colon or rectal cancer. Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed in the UK. Most people diagnosed with it are over the age of 60. The three main symptoms of bowel cancer are: persistent blood in the stools – that occurs for no obvious reason or is associated with a change in bowel habit, a persistent change in your bowel habit – which usually means going more often, with looser stools persistent lower abdominal (tummy) pain, bloating or discomfort – that’s always caused by eating and may be associated with loss of appetite or significant unintentional weight loss. The symptoms of bowel cancer can be subtle and don’t necessarily make you feel ill. However, it’s worth waiting for a short time to see if they get better as the symptoms of bowel cancer are persistent. If you’re unsure whether to see your GP, try the bowel cancer symptom checker: If bowel cancer is detected at an early stage, before symptoms appear, it’s easier to treat and there’s a better chance of surviving it. To detect cases of bowel cancer sooner, the NHS offers two types of bowel cancer screening to adults registered with a GP in England: All men and women aged 60-74 are invited to carry out a faecal occult blood (FOB) test. Every two years, they’re sent a home test kit, which is used to collect a stool sample. If you’re 75 or over, you can ask for this test by calling the freephone helpline on 0800 707 60 60.  An additional one off test called bowel scope screening is gradually being introduced in England, this is offered to men and women at the age of 55. It involves a doctor or nurse using a thin flexible instrument to look inside the lower part of the bowel. Taking part in bowel cancer screening reduces your chances of dying from bowel cancer, and removing polyps in bowel scope screening can prevent cancer. However, all screening involves a balance of potential harms, as well as benefits.





Anxiety is a feeling of unease, worry or fear. Everyone feels anxious at some point in their life, but for some people it can be an ongoing problem. A little bit of anxiety can be helpful; for example, feeling anxious before an exam might make you more alert and improve your performance. But too much anxiety could make you tired and unable to concentrate. Anxiety can have both psychological and physical symptoms. Psychological symptoms can include: feeling worried or uneasy a lot of the time, having difficulty sleeping which makes you feel tired, not being able to concentrate, being irritable, being extra alert, feeling on edge or not being able to relax, needing frequent reassurance from other people, feeling tearful, When you’re feeling anxious or stressed, your body releases stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. These cause the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as an increased heart rate and increased sweating. Physical symptoms can include: a pounding heartbeat, breathing faster, palpitations (an irregular heartbeat), feeling sick, chest pains, headaches, sweating, loss of appetite, feeling faint, needing the toilet more frequently or “butterflies” in your tummy. Anxiety can also be a symptom of another condition, such as panic disorder (when you have panic attacks) or post-traumatic stress disorder, which is caused by frightening or distressing events. There are effective treatments available for anxiety and panic disorders, so do talk to your GP if you think you may benefit from them.



Ovarian Cancer


The symptoms of ovarian cancer can be difficult to recognise, particularly early on. They’re often the same as symptoms of less serious conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome or pre-menstrual syndrome. The most common symptoms of ovarian cancer are: feeling constantly bloated, a swollen tummy, discomfort in your tummy or pelvic area, feeling full quickly when eating, or loss of appetite needing to urinate more often or more urgently than normal. Other symptoms of ovarian cancer can include: persistent indigestion or nausea, pain during sex, a change in your bowel habits, back pain, vaginal bleeding – particularly bleeding after the menopause, feeling tired all the time and unintentional weight loss. See your GP if: you’ve been feeling bloated most days for the last three weeks, you have other symptoms of ovarian cancer that won’t go away – especially if you’re over 50 or have a family history of ovarian or breast cancer, as you may be at a higher risk. It’s unlikely you have cancer, but it’s best to check.  Take the 60 seconds BEAT test to check for signs of ovarian cancer and to know when you should go to your GP, visit:  Your GP can do some simple tests for ovarian cancer to see if you might have it. If you’ve already seen your GP and your symptoms continue or get worse, go back to them and explain this.