BOWEL CANCER: If detected early, over 90% of bowel (colorectal) cancers can be successfully treated

Around 1 in 20 people will get bowel cancer in their lifetime. Most cancers occur in the lower colon.

Every year, around 140 people in Brighton and Hove are diagnosed.

Anyone registered with a GP and aged between 60 and 74 will receive a bowel screening test (poo test) in the post every two years. To find out why you should do this test and encourage others to do theirs read Sonia’s story

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people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK each year
people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year in Brighton and Hove

Michele lives in Brighton and
her bowel cancer was caught early.

“I was diagnosed with bowel cancer at the age of 52. This came as a great shock to me and to my family. I was operated on four weeks after diagnosis and given the all clear the month after. The surgeon removed all the cancer and there were no lymph nodes involved. I feel very blessed that I dodged a bullet and that the most important thing that benefitted me was my cancer being caught so early. 

“My message to anyone else experiencing symptoms that might be cancer is that you know your body better than anyone else, so trust your instincts and get some advice; I did and it probably saved my life.”

Know the signs
You should see your GP if you have any of these symptoms.

If you don’t have one, the NHS service search will help you find a GP near you.

  • Blood in your poo
  • Looser poo or a persistent (lasting) change in bowel habit
  • A feeling that you haven’t emptied your bowel properly after a poo
  • A pain or lump in your tummy
  • Weight loss for no obvious reason

Remember, these symptoms may not point to cancer but early diagnosis means it can be more easily and effectively treated. If you have any of these signs or symptoms, go and see your GP.

Family history

Having a family history of bowel cancer can increase your risk of developing the condition, particularly if a close relative (mother, father, brother or sister) was diagnosed with bowel cancer below the age of 50. If you are particularly concerned that your family’s medical history may mean you are at an increased risk of developing bowel cancer, it may help to speak to your GP.

If you attend your GP with a bowel symptom and are referred for a specialist appointment, you can expect to be offered an appointment within two weeks of the referral being received. Make sure you attend.


Gary works in Brighton and had a pain in his abdomen (tummy) that was lasting.

“I had been having a pain in my abdomen for a few weeks and thought I should get it checked out. My doctor examined me and also asked me about some other possible symptoms, which is when I realised I had them too! I was referred to the hospital and when I went along to out-patients for the results of the investigations, was really shocked to hear that I had bowel cancer.

“But the treatment I had from the medical team was very caring, thoughtful and positive, which really made a difference to how I felt.

“I am pleased to say that the treatment was a success – I am back at work full-time and travelling a lot, including a visit to my daughter in the USA.”

Find out how to lower
your risk of getting bowel cancer
A diet that is high in fibre, fruit and veg and low in red and processed meat, salt and saturated fat really will help reduce your risk of developing cancer as well as helping you stay a healthy weight.

If necessary, your GP can refer you to a genetics specialist who can offer more advice about your level of risk and recommend any necessary tests to periodically check for the condition.