Guest column: ‘Tummy trouble’ could actually be a sign of cancer

Coun Joyce Bosnjak
Coun Joyce Bosnjak
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The latest Be Clear on Cancer campaign hopes to raise awareness about certain abdominal symptoms or ‘tummy troubles’ that could be signs of cancer.

A regional pilot has been lunched across the Midlands to make people aware that certain abdominal symptoms such as diarrhoea, bloating and discomfort in the tummy area, which have lasted for three weeks or more, could be a sign of cancer.

The campaign hopes to encourage people with symptoms to see their doctor and not to ignore the warning signs.

In the East Midlands more than 25,000 people are diagnosed with cancer each year and nearly 12,000 die of the disease.

Around nine out of ten cases of cancer are diagnosed in people aged 50 and over.

And it is quite clear that the earlier it is diagnosed, the greater the chances of survival.

A recent survey shows that only one in six (16 per cent) over-50s in the Midlands would see their GP if they felt bloated for more than three weeks.

And only one in four (24 per cent) would go to the GP if they had experienced discomfort in the tummy area for more than three weeks.

I want to stress that if you have concerns about bloating or discomfort in the tummy area that have lasted for more than three weeks then you need to see your doctor.

Don’t be worried that you might be wasting the GP’s time, finding cancer early saves lives.

While it may be nothing to worry about, it is always better to get it checked out.

The new cancers that were diagnosed in Nottinghamshire in 2014 include:

Colorectal cancer (316 men, 251 women), uterine (159 women), pancreatic (64 men, 75 women), ovarian (92 women).

These four cancers account for 957 new diagnoses in Nottinghamshire in 2014, 200 more than breast cancer and almost 300 more than prostate diagnoses.

For further information on the signs and symptoms of early abdominal cancer visit: https://www.nhs.uk/be-clear-on-cancer/symptoms/tummy-troubles #AMzrFrK7xBkPx5QZ.97


n Coun Joyce Bosnjak is chairman of Public Health Nottinghamshire and the Nottinghamshire Health and Wellbeing Board at Nottinghamshire County Council