Eastleigh is cancer hotspot

Poor diet is a factor along with smoking

Eastleigh residents have been identified as being among those at the greatest risk of bowel cancer in Hampshire according to the bowel cancer awareness project who based their findings on the assessment of a combination of lifestyle risk factors such as smoking, poor diet and bowel cancer mortality rates.

To coincide with Bowel Cancer Awareness month specialist nurses at Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust are spreading the message that early diagnosis can lead to a successful outcome in 90% of cases.

Gemma Hobday, a Specialist Colorectal Nurse based at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital said:

“We are delighted that Bowel Cancer Awareness month focuses attention on this disease so that in the future, more people will go to their GP if they are concerned rather than let embarrassment stop them.”

Ann Cole from Bishopstoke was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 1999 at the age of 50 following a check up, which included a faecal occult blood test which works by detecting tiny amounts of blood which cannot normally be seen in bowel motions.

Ann says:

“Here I am 12 years on enjoying life to the full. I would advise everyone to be aware of the symptoms and encourage people to use the screening when offered”.

Ann Cole

The most common symptoms are:

  • Bleeding from the bottom (rectal bleeding) without any obvious reason. If you have other symptoms such as straining, soreness, lumps and itchiness the problem is likely to be piles but it’s still important to get this confirmed by your GP
  • A persistent change in bowel habit especially going to the toilet more often or experiencing looser stools for several weeks
  • Abdominal pain especially if severe
  • A lump in your tummy
  • Weight loss and tiredness

A local man, aged 54, who did not wish to be named, reacted angrily to the news:

“Eastleigh council say promoting a healthy community is one of their strategic priorities but you only have to look at how they are pushing the town into a late night fast food economy to see how they are failing. At night the first business motorists leaving the M3 see in Eastleigh is a Kebab stand.

There needs to be a moratorium on fast food outlets in the town centre

It is also shocking to see large numbers of young people being allowed to smoke on the youth club forecourt in the evening – the staff even provide a bucket for their dog ends.

The council should not be letting youngsters smoke anywhere on the premises let alone encouraging them by putting out ash trays.”

For further advice about the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer call Beating Bowel Cancer on 08450 719 301 or visit www.beatingbowelcancer.org.

For further information about the Screening Programme please call the freephone line 0800 707 6060 or visit www.cancerscreening.nhs.uk.