Over-50s suffering persistent stomach discomfort, bloating or diarrhoea are being urged to visit their GP as these could be signs of cancer which, if detected early, can be successfully treated.

The hard-hitting message comes from Public Health England (PHE) which has launched its Be Clear on Cancer campaign today (9 February), across the East Midlands, in partnership with NHS England. The campaign will run until the end of March 2017, with the aim of getting more people to visit their GPs if they are presenting symptoms of abdominal discomfort, diarrhoea, bloating or anything else that just does not feel right for three weeks or more.

Derby City Councillor Martin Repton, Cabinet Member for Integrated Health and Care, welcomed the campaign. He said joined up working with Public Health England, local authorities and healthcare professionals was the best way to raise awareness and get more people suffering from abdominal symptoms to seek advice from their GPs.

He said:

“I fully understand that cancer is a frightening word associated with a number of life-threatening diseases. Although more people are now diagnosed with cancer, earlier diagnosis and improved treatments mean that the chance of survival is much better. According to Cancer Research UK statistics at least 42 percent of cancers in the UK are preventable and the survival rate for people who have had cancer for ten years or more is 50 percent.

“I encourage both men and women over the age of 50, who are experiencing abdominal symptoms, to visit their doctor as it may save their lives. The likelihood is that it will not have a serious cause, but a small proportion of people will turn out to have cancer and the earlier it is found the better it can be treated.”

Be Clear on Cancer: Abdominal Symptoms, forms part of the Independent Cancer Taskforce report Achieving World Class Cancer Outcomes: A strategy for England 2015-20. The aim is to improve survival rates and save thousands of lives.

Be Clear on Cancer campaigns have been running since 2010, to help improve earlier diagnosis of cancer by raising awareness of symptoms and encouraging those with relevant symptoms to go to their doctor.

These campaigns are run by Public Health England in partnership with the Department of Health and NHS England. Previously they focused on specific cancers (lung and breast) but are now focusing on the prevention and early detection of a wider range of cancers.

Please visit NHS Choices to learn more about available cancer screening.

Published: Thursday 9th February 2017