Do you give a crap?

January 20th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

A very good campaign video by Beat Bowel Cancer Aotearoa.

Bowel is one of the cancers we don’t like to talk about, as anything around that area can be a bit yucky. But it is the number two killer in New Zealand. Almost as many people die from bowel as from breast and prostrate combined. Around 1,200 NZers a year die from it and 3,000 get diagnosed. This is one of the highest rates in the world.

Your lifetime risk of is 1 in 18 for men and 1 in 23 for women and can affect people of any age (but more common over 50). The good news is the 75% of cases are treatable if caught early enough.

So what are the symptoms of bowel cancer. They include:

  • Bleeding from the bottom or seeing blood in the toilet after a bowel motion
  • Change of bowel motions over several weeks without returning to normal
  • Persistent or periodic severe pain the abdomen
  • A lump or mass in the abdomen
  • Tiredness and loss of weight for no particular reason
  • Anaemia

More info on symptoms and screening is on the Beat Bowel Cancer website.

In England the five year survival rate for those diagnosed early is 93%. For those diagnosed at Stage D (late) it is only 7%.

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13 Responses to “Do you give a crap?”

  1. Longknives (4,753 comments) says:

    I had the experience of a Colonoscopy quite recently (nothing serious thank God).
    The souvenir photos you get to take home afterwards are somewhat fascinating….

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  2. Ross Nixon (559 comments) says:

    I have a reasonable chance of getting bowel cancer, with many sufferers on my mother’s side of the family.
    So that is one of the reasons I take low dose aspirin – it apparently reduces the incidence. One of these days I should also get a colonoscopy, but I probably won’t get around to it.

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  3. stephieboy (3,091 comments) says:

    A work mate of mind on observing blood in his motions prior to Christmas 2010 promptly sought medical advice . He was diagnosed with bc and was immediately operated on with some back up chemo.
    He is alive and well today thanks to his prompt action and medical intervention. One of those fortunate 75%.
    Note also that lack of prompt action can also lead to often extensive traumatic surgical intervention as well as a lower survival rate.
    Dont postpone because of Xmas and holidays etc.!

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  4. alex Masterley (1,517 comments) says:

    I am constantly mindful of BC.
    2 colleagues contracted and subsequently died of the disease despite treatment.
    Watching them die over a period of months was not an experience I want to repeat.

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  5. peterwn (3,273 comments) says:

    Ross – just do not think about it – discuss it with your GP now. The worst part is emptying out. While sugarless Gummy Bears should do the trick, they will probably prefer you drink the revolting magnesium citrate.

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  6. Longknives (4,753 comments) says:

    “they will probably prefer you drink the revolting magnesium citrate.”

    Aah yes- Thanks for reminding me. Drinking a couple of litres of what tasted like glue then sitting and waiting for it to work your way through your system. Then spending several hours in the toilet while your body rather violently purges itself of all content!
    Keep glade and toilet duck handy….

    *All well worth it though- Far better be safe than sorry…

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  7. Don the Kiwi (1,757 comments) says:

    My older brother died of bowel cancer April last year aged 72. It was picked up 2 years before and he was operated on. He went for a final check-up – his previous check-ups indicated all clear – but it had metastacised and gone into his liver and lungs. He lasted another 5 months.
    My best mate whom i used to go yachting (and drinking) with back in 2008 had blood in his crap, but because he and his wife had a trip to Oz planned and were spending 12 – 18 months campervaning around, he did nothing about it. He was there for less than 12 months when it hit him – he was operated on and thought that he was clear, but 12 months later it came back. He came home and died 12 months later in June 2012 just 1 week before his 69th.birthday.
    There are much better ways to die. I must say in my brother’s and Rex’s case, the Hospice care is fantastic. They bith died pain free, but of course, the increased doses of morphine to alleviate the pain also hastens death. R.I.P Bruce and Rex.

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  8. tvb (4,422 comments) says:

    Yes I am a bowel cancer survivor had the big op. But it was very localised hence no chemo or radio. Putting on weight fast losing weight was one side effect I rather liked. Bought lots of new clothes at great expense but I did not was to slop around in those dreadful track suit pants and slip ons. But I do not know what is next if anything.

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  9. jonno1 (82 comments) says:

    Being “at-risk” I have a colonoscopy every two-three years. Nothing found so far except a couple of benign polyps on one occasion. The probe has a fancy cutting tool on the end; a very cool device. And I’m beginning to quite like the clean-out fluid – how sad is that? I view these check-ups as similar to regular skin and prostate checks, albeit a bit more invasive.

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  10. hj (7,023 comments) says:

    Gareth Morgan (the “Bucfoon Morgan”) says in his book Health Cheque that in some countries nurses do the colonos opy.
    I have crohns disease. Got 90cm of bowell missing and a narrow section that gets jammed up ocasionally.
    i know two people who died recd tly of BC. for wa t of a colonoscopy exam.

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  11. ISeeRed (236 comments) says:

    Bells get cancer and I should starting giving out crepes? I’ve been away from Nyew Zillind too long!

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  12. Crusader (314 comments) says:

    I have a reasonable chance of getting bowel cancer, with many sufferers on my mother’s side of the family.
    So that is one of the reasons I take low dose aspirin – it apparently reduces the incidence. One of these days I should also get a colonoscopy, but I probably won’t get around to it.

    Get around to it. Talk to your GP. Next best thing is a fibre rich diet. Keep your poo soft and regular. Aspirin is a double-edged sword.

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  13. Steve (North Shore) (4,563 comments) says:

    For those of you who have not had a colonoscopy, the preparation is worse than the actual proceedure.
    After in recovery you hear others saying the weirdest things while they are off their tits!

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