Be Clear on Cancer campaign

 

 

Footballer's Emile Heskey and Micha Richards get behind the new Be Clear on Cancer campaign.

 

Don’t ignore the warning signs: New campaign in the Midlands aims to drive awareness of persistent tummy troubles as possible signs of cancer

 

•In the Midlands around 55,800 people are diagnosed with cancer each year and around 26,100 die of the disease ,,

•Key findings from a new regional survey reveal that few people would see their GP if they had persistent tummy troubles – a potential sign of cancer   

•The campaign is supported by local celebrities Emile Heskey and Micah Richards

 

Public Health England has launched a new Be Clear on Cancer campaign in the Midlands to raise awareness that tummy troubles lasting for three weeks or more could be a sign of cancer. In the Midlands around 55,800 people are diagnosed with cancer each year and around 26,100 die of the disease.1 

 

The campaign, which is being supported by local celebrities Emile Heskey and Micah Richards, encourages people suffering from symptoms such as persistent diarrhoea, bloating or discomfort in the tummy area to see their doctor. These can be signs of a number of cancers, including bowel, ovarian or pancreatic. 

 

Around nine in 10 cases of cancer are diagnosed in people aged 50 or over. 1,  A recent survey shows that only one in six (16%) over 50s in the Midlands would see their GP if they felt bloated for more than three weeks and only one in four (24%) would go to the GP if they had experienced discomfort in the tummy area for over three weeks.3

The survey also shows that many Midlands residents in this age group do not think that persistent tummy troubles are serious enough symptoms to seek advice from their GP, or that such symptoms could be a sign of cancer; only a third (37%) think that discomfort in the tummy area could be a sign of cancer and just half (47%) think that persistent bloating could be a sign of the disease.  

 

Furthermore, the survey found many residents are concerned that they would be wasting their GP’s time if they went to see them about such problems.

 

Dr Lola Abudu, director of Health and Wellbeing for PHE West Midlands, said: “Every year in England about 288,000 people are diagnosed with cancer, with around 30,500 people from the West Midlands and 25,300 people from the East Midlands. Even though people are twice as likely to survive cancer than they were 40 years ago, we want to save more lives and early diagnosis and treatment is vital. 

 

“Cancer mainly affects older people, with around 90% of cases diagnosed in the over 50s, so this campaign is aimed particularly at these people, to encourage them to see their doctor if they have tummy troubles such as diarrhoea, bloating, constipation, nausea, discomfort in the tummy area, or blood in poo for three weeks or more. People should also see their doctor if they notice any other unusual changes, like a lump in the tummy area, post-menopausal bleeding, or unexplained weight loss. It may be nothing serious, but if it is cancer, finding it early makes it more treatable.

 

“More than 40% of cases of cancer could be prevented, largely through lifestyle changes such as not smoking, keeping a healthy bodyweight, eating a healthy balanced diet and cutting down on alcohol – so by making a few simple lifestyle changes, you could seriously reduce the risk of cancer.”

 

Former professional footballer who grew up in the Midlands, Emile Heskey, said: “It is really important to be raising awareness about the different signs of cancer within the black community. I wouldn’t have thought that having persistent tummy troubles could be a sign of cancer, but now I know, I want to help spread the word so that others know too. So, don’t ignore the warning signs. If you’ve been suffering from tummy troubles such as diarrhoea, bloating, discomfort or anything else that just doesn’t feel right, for three weeks or more, tell your doctor. It’s probably nothing serious, but if it is cancer, finding it early makes it more treatable.”

 

Professional footballer for Aston Villa who lives in the Midlands, Micah Richards said: “We know that cancer is still a taboo in the black community but we need to talk openly about it especially as knowing the possible signs of cancer and going to see the doctor if you have any of them could save your life. If you have diarrhoea, bloating or discomfort in the tummy area, for three weeks or more, –  go to your doctor, don’t be embarrassed or shy about it. It’s probably nothing serious but it could be a sign of cancer. Talk to your loved ones too. If you know anyone who has any of these symptoms, encourage them to see their doctor”.

 

For further information about tummy troubles as possible signs of cancer, please visit nhs.uk/tummytroubles.