A DAD from Worcestershire is a living example of how spotting the signs of bowel cancer early can be a lifesaver.
In July 2012 Simon James of Severn Stoke, then aged 38, began to feel constantly fatigued and tired while exercising.
Although his GP told him he was stressed and unfit, Mr James, now aged 40, persisted and three weeks later was diagnosed with bowel cancer, a form of the disease more commonly associated with those over 60.
After undergoing successful treatment, the sales director – who has since become a father to six-month-old Leo – has thrown his support behind a campaign by charity Beating Bowel Cancer working to raise awareness of the disease.
“From a bloke’s perspective it doesn’t matter how old you are or how fit you are, I’d advise people to not assume anything and don’t brush off any symptoms," he said.
“If I wasn’t the type of person I am, and quite obsessive about my health, I might not have taken it any further.
“What I’ve learned is that the louder you shout about your symptoms, the more likely people will sit up and listen.
“I’m a great example of how someone who is diagnosed early can go on to make a full recovery and get their life back to normal right away.”
Beating Bowel Cancer is running a Lift the Lid Day on Wednesday, April 16, working to spread the message that the symptoms of bowel cancer are nothing to be embarrassed about and encourage people to speak to their doctors and each other if they spot anything unusual.
More than 90 per cent of those with the disease can be treated successfully if it is spotted in the early stages.
The charity’s chief executive Mark Flannagan said: “Our Lift the Lid campaign in April is a great opportunity to get people talking to raise awareness of the condition and its symptoms.
“Whether it’s a chat over coffee about your own experience of the disease, inspiring someone to go online and learn about the symptoms or encouraging someone who is worried to talk to their doctor or contact our helpline, all of these conversations could be lifesaving.
“There are also downloadable materials such as posters which people could put up around their offices or in the community.
“By talking about bowel cancer we make a real difference in the fight against it.”
More than 40,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year and about 16,000 of these day annually – or one every 32 minutes.
For more information call 08450 719 300 or visit www.beatingbowelcancer.org/liftthelid.