A new NHS poll estimates that nearly a quarter of people in Newcastle are unaware of shocking “tummy trouble” symptoms which could mean you have cancer.
As part of the Help Us Help You campaign, public figures like Dr Hilary Jones and TV presenter Dominic Littlewood have spoken out and warned people not to ignore issues like blood appearing in urine or faeces. This is because they’re signs you could have bladder or bowel cancer.
A survey conducted by the firm Censuswide for the NHS found that in Newcastle, 22% of those asked were unaware that needing a wee urgently could be a sign of bladder cancer, with 25% not knowing that feeling bloated for three weeks was also a symptom, and 22% oblivious to “discomfort in the tummy area” being something to get checked out.
According to the poll, more than a third of people in Newcastle didn’t know blood in urine was a warning sign, with a similar number not knowing that blood in faeces was also an issue. The poll featured the views of 2,000 adults across England.
The new campaign sees figures like Dr Jones urge people to speak to a GP if they discover they have any of the worrying symptoms, even just once. Cowboy Builders presenter Dominic Littlewood said: “When I was 47, I discovered that I had prostate cancer but I was lucky because I caught it early.
“I had an operation on a Monday and by Friday I was out of hospital and back on my motorbike living an almost normal life. To anybody out there who is too embarrassed to go and see their doctor about potential symptoms, I would really urge you to contact your GP practice.Hopefully your symptoms are nothing serious but if it is cancer, the earlier it’s found the better.”
Dame Cally Palmer, national cancer director for the NHS in England, said: “We are very thankful to Dominic Littlewood for supporting our campaign to help raise awareness of urological and abdominal cancers – it’s so important that people know about the symptoms and come forward for checks if they are worried.
“Lives are saved when cancers are caught early and while record numbers are being referred by GPs for tests, we must continue our drive to get anyone with symptoms such as needing to wee urgently, bloating or diarrhoea for three weeks or more – to get checked without delay, it can save your life.”
The NHS has announced cancer will be one of four new “missions”, with a task force modelled on the vaccines task force to be set up to help boost faster diagnoses and survival rates. £22.5 million will be spent on cancer research, the Government said on Monday, to develop new immune-based cancer therapies. These could include cancer vaccines.
The aim is to diagnose 75% of cancers at stage one or two by 2028.