DOCTORS on South Tyneside are backing a campaign to cut deaths from bowel cancer.
The GPs are supporting the national Be Clear On Cancer campaign, which is being launched here after it was successfully piloted in the south west and east of England last year.
Already, NHS staff across the North East have been working alongside the North of England Cancer Network (NECN) with the aim of saving 1,000 lives across the region, through early detection of the major cancers.
Dr Matthew Walmsley, chairman of South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We are asking people to tell their GP if, for the last three weeks, they’ve had symptoms such as blood in their poo, or it has been looser.
“It could put your mind at rest – but if it turns out to be more serious, it could save your life.”
Last year, three co-ordinated campaigns across the North of England took place, focused on breast, bowel and lung cancers.
They included shopping centre roadshows, a partnership with Cancer Research UK’s Race For Life, and extra patient information in the region’s 500-plus GP practices. In the North East more people develop cancer than the national average.
And research commissioned by NECN showed that most people didn’t know the early signs and symptoms of the cancers involved.
The campaign aims to bring together all those involved in cancer care, from staff in hospitals and local communities to patients living life after cancer, to raise awareness of the importance of an early diagnosis.
The initiative will run throughout February and March, with a focus on real-life stories of people from across the region – and the country – who have survived cancer thanks to an early diagnosis.
Dr Walmsley added: “Whilst people in South Tyneside have access to some of the best cancer services and treatments in the country, sometimes people are contacting their GP with symptoms of cancer much later than they could.
“If people become more aware of signs and symptoms of cancer, it could have a huge impact on their health – and even save their life.”