Our Chief Executive, Deborah Gilbert, featured on Sky News, on Friday 30th November.

Deborah featured on the breakfast show, Sky Sunrise, with bowel cancer survivor Michelle Forde to discuss the importance of detecting bowel cancer early.

Bowel cancer is the most survivable of the big four cancers if it is detected in the early stages. The survival rate of bowel cancer is 90% if caught early.

Deborah highlighted that many people are embarrassed to go to see their GP, particularly after finding blood in their poo. She said:

“A survey that was conducted by our partners, Measure Bowel Health, indicated that up to 75% of people would put off going to see a doctor if they saw blood in their stools…

That is one of the key indicators that something is wrong. It doesn’t have to be bowel cancer, it can be a range of things, but the important thing is to go and see your doctor and get it sorted out.”

Before being diagnosed with bowel cancer, Michelle had been feeling more fatigued than usual, however, as a healthy and fit 33-year-old, she did not suspect a problem. Michelle said that she became worried after finding blood in her poo and it was then that she went to see her GP.

Michelle discussed the bowel cancer symptoms that the public should be aware of in order to diagnose the disease in its early stages.

As well as blood in poo, another sign of bowel cancer can be unusual changes in bowel habits, such as going to the toilet more often or less than usual. Moreover, if you have constipation or diarrhoea that lasts for more than three weeks or a pain in your tummy.

Michelle said, “You may not get all of the symptoms but I think seeing blood in your stools is a very important one that you should get checked out straight away.”

Deborah also discussed self-screening tests that detect bowel cancer. Bowel & Cancer Research have partnered with Measure Bowel Health who have developed a digital device which measures faecal occult blood which cannot be seen in the toilet because it is high in the colon.

“This is quite effective as it will allow you to visit your GP. It works on the same premise as the screening kit that you are sent from the NHS although this isn’t until you are between the ages of 50 and 70.”

“If you are worried in between times or if you are a younger age group, then this new self-screening test provides another option for you.”

Deborah explained, “The risk of bowel cancer increases with age but if you are a young person, do not discount the fact that something might be wrong. If it is caught early, it is very treatable.”

Read more about bowel cancer symptoms here.

Read Michelle’s story here.