Thousands more people have visited the NHS website to find out about bowel cancer after the BBC’s Jeremy Bowen revealed he had the disease.
Earlier this week, Bowen, 59, warned people not to “die of embarrassment” rather than talking to a doctor.
NHS England thanked him for talking frankly about his diagnosis.
“As a nation we need to stop being so prudish about poo,” said Celia Ingham-Clark, medical director and leading bowel specialist.
“How often someone goes and consistency, or finding blood in poo, can be an early indicator that something isn’t right.
“Our trips to the toilet can give vital clues to our health which shouldn’t be ignored,” she said.
The ‘Bowen bounce’, as NHS England is calling it, resulted in a spike in visits to the bowel cancer information page on the NHS website.
They increased from 1,639 the day before to 4,735 on the day itself.
‘Big thank you’
The earlier bowel cancer is diagnosed, the better the chances of survival but, currently, only two in five bowel cancer patients are diagnosed at stage one or two.
Ms Ingham-Clark said: “A big thank you is owed to Jeremy Bowen for talking about his bowel cancer diagnosis and encouraging people to get tested.
“It’s vital to get worrying symptoms checked out as soon as possible so something serious can be ruled out, or people can be referred for testing and treatment.”
The NHS says these symptoms may be a warning of a serious bowel illness:
- A change in your bowels so you poo more often than is normal for you, lasting more than two weeks
- A change in your poo so it is loose and runny, like diarrhoea, lasting more than two weeks
- Blood in your poo
- A lump in your abdomen
- Losing weight unexpectedly
- A pain in your abdomen that stops you doing your normal activities or which persists for more than a few days
Source: NHS website
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