Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

10-Minute Test Could Save Lives; HEALTH Reporter HELEN RAE Takes a Look at Why a Bowel Cancer Survivor Is Welcoming Plans to Show a Video about Cancer Symptoms in North GP Surgeries

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

10-Minute Test Could Save Lives; HEALTH Reporter HELEN RAE Takes a Look at Why a Bowel Cancer Survivor Is Welcoming Plans to Show a Video about Cancer Symptoms in North GP Surgeries

Article excerpt

Byline: HELEN RAE

CAPTION in here on A BOWEL cancer survivor has welcomed plans to show a new cancer symptoms video in the region's GP surgeries.

Walter Day, 76, who lives in Cramlington, Northumberland, has praised the video which shows the symptoms to look out for that could indicate early signs of breast, bowel and lung cancer. The retired councillor said: "Having this video on in GP receptions is a great idea because you're a captive audience when you're waiting to see your doctor.

"We still have far too many people dying of cancer but if it's caught early enough it's entirely treatable.

"This video is another way to try and get those messages out to people and to encourage them to go and see their GP as soon as they think something might be wrong."

The cancer symptoms video has been produced by NHS North of Tyne Healthy Communities Collaborative (HCC).

The HCC works with local communities in Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland to help raise awareness of breast, bowel and lung cancer symptoms.

Mr Day, who is married with one grown-up daughter and a granddaughter, went to see his GP after regularly discovering a smear of blood when he went to the toilet.

He said: "I didn't have any pain or discomfort and initially just thought it was a haemorrhoid but I later learned that if it had been a haemorrhoid there would have been more blood and it would have been much lighter in colour."

Mr Day was referred for a colonoscopy, under the NHS's maximum two-week wait for referral to a specialist when cancer is suspected, and subsequently the consultant requested a biopsy.

A week later he was told he had bowel cancer.

"I had an operation to remove the cancerous parts of my bowel and spent 11 days in hospital," explained Mr Day.

"Unfortunately I was really unlucky and some of the cancer had already spread elsewhere in my body. "The doctors told me I only had a 50/50 chance of survival which was an incredibly scary thing to be told."

After six months of chemotherapy Mr Day went on to beat the odds and in April last year was given the allclear.

"Getting the all-clear was fantastic, bowel cancer had been like the sword of Damocles hanging over me for five years and it was such a relief to know I had beaten it," Mr Day explained.

After his own journey with cancer, the pensioner decided to join the HCC as a volunteer to help spread the word on early symptoms and why screening is so important.

He said: "I wanted to give something back, both to the NHS who had been so fantastic to me during my own journey with cancer, and to the community I live in.

"I think getting people to talk about bowel cancer is one the biggest challenges we face.

"We don't talk about bowel cancer in the way that we talk about breast cancer or lung cancer - it still has a taboo around it. …

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