The number of people diagnosed with bowel cancer is set to double by 2045 leading to calls for people to be more aware of their bowel health.
According to the Irish Cancer Society, it is estimated that 2,800 people will be diagnosed with the disease this year and 1,000 people will die from it.
However, with a growing, ageing population, the National Cancer Registry projects the number of diagnoses to reach more than 5,700 by 2045.
The Irish Cancer Society urged people to check their bowel health on its online checker.
“Bowel cancer most commonly occurs in people over 60 years of age and is often diagnosed in the later stages. However, if bowel cancer is caught early, it is extremely treatable,” said Joan Kelly, Cancer Support Manager with the Irish Cancer Society.
“Recent figures showed us that 95% of people diagnosed at Stage 1 were alive five years later. That is good news but this is not the case for people diagnosed with stage 3 and 4 bowel cancer. We need to work towards increasing the number of people diagnosed in the early stages.
“We would encourage anyone who might be interested in checking their bowel health to take our easy to do online Bowel Health Checker which can be found at cancer.ie/bowelhealth. It’s a quick questionnaire and includes a letter which can be brought to your GP.”
Ms Kelly said the second way to increase numbers diagnosed early is for people to go for bowel screening when called.
”The majority of bowel cancer cases occur in men but only 37% of eligible males have availed of the State’s free screening programme - BowelScreen, compared to 46% of women,” she said. “It is vital that people avail of this free, life-saving service that is offered to everyone aged between 60 and 69. A healthy lifestyle and a diet, high in fibre and wholegrains, can also help to reduce your risk of developing bowel cancer.”
To speak to a cancer nurse on any aspect of bowel cancer contact the Cancer Nurseline on Freephone 1800 200 700, email firstname.lastname@example.org or drop into one of the 13 Daffodil Centres in major hospitals nationwide.
For more information on BowelScreen call Freephone 1800 45 45 55 or bowelscreen.ie