If you think you're too young to get cancer, think again – early diagnosis is vital

IT’S simple: Knowing the symptoms of bowel cancer could save your life.

It is the fourth most common type of cancer and the second-biggest cancer killer, claiming around 16,000 lives every year.

Catch it early and the disease can be treated successfully. Yet 53 per cent of people don’t get a diagnosis until it has spread.

An early diagnoses is a life-saver. Screening and knowledge are vital.

Three years ago, The Sun launched the No Time 2 Lose campaign, urging the Government to lower the screening age for bowel cancer from 60 to 50.

In August 2018, Health Secretary Matt Hancock agreed. But we are still waiting to see the screening tests rolled out to over-50s.

If you receive your home testing kit in the post, follow the instructions and post it back.

It is the best chance of picking up the earliest changes, long before any symptoms develop.

And if you think you are too young, think again.

Every year, more than 2,500 younger people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK.

Cancer scare

Last year I had a bowel cancer scare, at the age of 39. A change in bowel habits over a few months, with a one-off case of blood in my stool, prompted me to see my GP.

Within a few weeks, I’d had the tests I needed. Thankfully, I got the all-clear.

The disease runs in my family. We lost both grandmother and my auntie at relatively young ages.

It is something we all have to be vigilant about.

Just as we urge women to check their breasts and tell men to check their testicles, we can all keep an eye on our bowel movements.

Take note of what is normal for you.

Is that going for a number two once a day? Twice? By knowing your “normal”, you can be alert if things change.

The five red flags for bowel cancer are: Blood in your poo or bleeding; an unexplained change in bowel habits; weight loss; extreme tiredness; a lump or pain in your tummy.

Most of the time these will be down to other issues. But if you notice one or more symptoms, speak to your GP.

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