BOWEL cancer claims the lives of 11 people every year in the Dungannon and South Tyrone area, it has been revealed.
Approximately 35 people are diagnosed with the condition each year and, to mark Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, the charity Action Cancer is encouraging men and women to seek advice immediately if they experience any signs and symptoms of the disease.
Figures have also been released for the Cookstown and Magherafelt Council areas, where six and eight deaths occur every year respectively from the condition.
According to Action Cancer, bowel cancer is more common in older people with around 80% of cancers occurring in people aged over 60.
It is the second most common cancer diagnosed in Northern Ireland and the second most common cause of death from cancer.
Although over 1,100 people are diagnosed and 430 die from the disease here every year, with early diagnosis bowel cancer is one of the most treatable cancers.
Geraldine Kerr, Head of Professional Services for the charity, said:
“If bowel cancer is detected in its earliest stages the individual has more than a 9 in 10 chance of surviving the disease so we want to ensure that the public are aware of the most common early signs and symptoms like having blood in your stools, loose and more frequent bowel movements or pain and swelling in your abdomen for a prolonged length of time.
“It’s important to note that there are many other common conditions with similar symptoms that will affect us at some time in our lives, so most people with these symptoms do not have cancer.
“But if you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms we would recommend you seek advice from your GP immediately.”
The Northern Ireland Bowel Cancer Screening Programme offers screening every two years to men and women aged 60 to 71.
It aims to increase the proportion of cases detected at an early stage of the disease before symptoms develop and when the chance of successful treatment is greatest.
Since April 2010 the programme has screened nearly 200,000 participants and detected nearly 200 cancers at an early stage.
For more information about the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer visit www.actioncancer.org to download the bowel cancer leaflet.
To find out more on the Northern Ireland Screening Programme visit www.cancerscreening.n-i.nhs.uk