IOM Bowel Cancer Update 2022

It’s official – cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the Isle of Man, accounting for 28.4% of all deaths registered from 2008-2018.  This is similar to England where in 2018 invasive cancers accounted for 25.2% of all deaths registered.

Bowel cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed invasive cancer type in the Isle of Man in both men and women, followed closely by lung cancer.

Right now almost half of adults in the UK cannot name a single symptom of bowel cancer.  Knowing the symptoms, and acting on the, means that bowel cancer can be diagnosed earlier when it is more treatable and curable.  But fewer than 40% of people are diagnosed at the earliest stages.  We can change this and ultimately save more lives.

Changes in bowel habit and blood in your poo are two bowel cancer symptoms that happen while you’re on the toilet.  Andrex, the Co-op and M&S have all committed to adding the symptoms of bowel cancer onto their own brand toilet rolls to help raise awareness.  Through this initiative it is estimated that more than one in three UK households will have access to this information.  Seeing the symptoms on loo roll packaging should prompt you to check your poo every time you pick up a pack so you can act early, visit your GP quickly and get an earlier diagnosis.  It could save your life.

According to the NHS, the three main symptoms of bowel cancer are:

  • persistent blood in your poo – that happens for no obvious reason or is associated with a change in bowel habit

  • a persistent change in your bowel habit – which is usually having to poo more and your poo may also become more runny

  • persistent lower, bloating or discomfort – that’s always caused by eating and may be associated with loss of appetite and weight

However, the NHS says most people with these symptoms do not have bowel cancer. Other health problems can cause similar symptoms such as a change in diet or haemorrhoids.

The NHS recommends seeing your GP if you have any of the symptoms of bowel cancer for three weeks or more.