Young people * Healthy living

UK Charity and celebrities GET LOUD to beat bowel cancer

Zone default image ….. under-35s unaware of second biggest cause of cancer deaths

As a new survey reveals how ignorant many young people are about the great number of lives claimed by bowel cancer, UK charity Beating Bowel Cancer has launched its annual campaign to urge people to be loud about the disease and help others stay clear of it.

The BE LOUD! BE CLEAR! campaign is supported by a number of high-profile celebrities, including charity patron and former England rugby player, Matt Dawson, as well as actor - star of BBC series “Rome” - James Purefoy.

Bowel cancer kills 50 people each day and is the second biggest cause of death due to cancer after lung cancer. Yet more than three-quarters of people under the age of 35 were not aware of this, when polled by YouGov on behalf of the charity. Among the under-35's, breast cancer was thought to cause more deaths than bowel cancer.

As bowel and breast cancer are more prevalent amongst older people, the lack of public awareness about bowel cancer, often fuelled by the British squeamishness about bowel habits and “toilet matters”, means that the disease is often wrongly seen as an old person’s disease.

The BE LOUD! BE CLEAR! campaign, which runs from 26 January - 1 February, is urging people to turn up the noise around the disease, and improve public awareness by breaking down the taboos about bowel cancer.

People can get involved by dressing up in loud clothes and organising “loud” activities to encourage conversations about bowel cancer and its symptoms, and helping raise funds for the charity’s vital work at the same time.

Actor James Purefoy commented,

“I’m supporting Beating Bowel Cancer’s BE LOUD! BE CLEAR! campaign, having lost a close friend to bowel cancer when she was in her thirties. This tragedy highlighted to me that the disease can strike at any age. I urge people to get symptom-aware and see their doctor early if they’re worried.”

Hilary Whittaker, Chief Executive of Beating Bowel Cancer, said:

“Too few people are aware of just how common this deadly disease is and the symptoms to look out for. Many of us are too embarrassed to talk about our bottoms and bowel habits, but this lack of awareness is costing thousands of lives every year. Around 90% of cases are curable if caught early enough – that’s why making a noise about this killer disease can literally save lives.”

Beating Bowel Cancer’s patron and former England rugby player, Matt Dawson, added:

“BE LOUD! BE CLEAR! is a fun campaign that gets across a serious message – we all need to be LOUD about the UK’s second biggest cancer killer, and know that symptoms such as a persistent change in your bowel habits or bleeding from your bottom should not be ignored. I lost my granddad to bowel cancer and my mother was also recently diagnosed, so I’m fully behind Beating Bowel Cancer and the fantastic work they do to raise awareness.”

As part of the BE LOUD! BE CLEAR! campaign, the charity is also calling on the Government to invest in a national awareness and education campaign to help reduce deaths from this common cancer, and to extend the bowel cancer screening programme to those aged 50 and over.

This article was published on Wed 28 January 2009

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