April has been designated Bowel Cancer Awareness Month as people are urged to be vigilant in recognising the symptoms of this deadly disease which claims the lives of more than 40 people each day in the UK. It is thought that 54% of the incidences of the disease could have been prevented. As with any form of cancer, the earlier it is detected, the more likely the chances of survival. Bowel or colon cancer is more common in people over the age of 60 but can occur at any age. If you are over 60, it is vital to be aware of the warning signs.
Symptoms of Bowel Cancer
- Bleeding from the bottom or blood in your stools
- Unexplained weight loss
- Unusual and persistent changes in bowel habits such as diarrhoea or constipation
- Abdominal pain when going to the toilet
- Unexplained tiredness, dizziness or breathlessness
- Symptoms commonly associated with piles or haemorrhoids such as soreness in the back passage, pain, itching or a lump hanging down outside the anus
If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to arrange a visit to your GP. Screening programmes are available to detect cancer before any symptoms are apparent so it is vital that you make full use of the services in your area.
The charity Bowel Cancer UK stress that screening can save lives and urge people, especially those over 60 years of age, to take the test, as early diagnosis can save lives. You can find more information on their website by clicking on the link below:
Study into the effect of coffee drinking on bowel cancer
A recent study has found that drinking coffee can reduce the chances of developing colorectal cancer – bowel and rectal cancers.
Researchers from the University of South California together with scientists from the Clalit National Israeli Cancer Control Centre in Israel conducted an extensive study of over 9000 people. They found that drinking coffee was associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer and the more coffee consumed, the lower the risk. Their findings showed that even moderate consumption of one to two cups a day was linked to a 26% reduction in the odds of developing the disease. The risk continued to decline to up to 50% when participants drank more than two and a half cups of coffee a day.
The team were surprised to find that the decreased risk was seen in decaffeinated as well as caffeinated varieties. Senior study author, Dr Stephen Gruber explained that coffee contains many elements that contribute to colorectal health. Caffeine and polyphenol acting as antioxidants, can limit the growth of potential cancer cells. Melanoidins which are generated during the roasting process can encourage colon mobility. Diterpenes are thought to protect against oxidative damage.
Dr Gruber stressed that further research was needed before advocating coffee consumption as a preventative measure but that the findings were promising.
The study is published by the American Association of Cancer Research.
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