A SENIOR nurse at East Lancashire NHS Hospitals Trust said a reluctance to talk about bowel problems could be costing lives.

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in men and the second most prevalent in women in England. If diagnosed early, the chance of surviving over five years is 90 per cent, but if left late, just six per cent can expect to live for another five years.

Andrea Darbyshire, colorectal nurse specialist, said: “Some people still tend to put worries about their bowels to the back of their minds and don’t want to talk about it, but bowel cancer is very treatable, especially if caught early.”

Symptoms to look out for include unexplained weight loss, a pain or lump in your tummy and bleeding from the bottom. Cutting down on smoking and red meat plus doing more exercise can help reduce the risk of bowel problems.