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Bowel cancer symptoms: How to see early signs and screening explained after Adele Roberts announces diagnosis

Radio 1 ‘s Adele Roberts has been diagnosed with bowel cancer, and will undergo surgery to remove a tumour on Monday.

The DJ said she has been having issues with her digestion for a while, and went her GP “just in case”.

Here’s everything she’s said about her condition, and what you need to know about the disease.

What has Adele said?

Roberts, 42, said she was diagnosed with bowel cancer at the start of October and she is having surgery to remove a tumour on Monday.

She revealed the diagnosis in an Instagram post.

Roberts urged others who have the signs to get checked out as soon as possible, and described her outlook as “positive”.

“So far the outlook is positive and I feel so lucky I can be treated. It’s just the start of my journey but I’m going to give it everything,” she said.

She wrote: “It’s all happened so quickly and I’m so sorry to post something like this on here but I hope it helps anyone who might be worrying, or suffering in silence.

“As I’ve learned over the last few weeks, there’s no ‘normal’ with cancer. Sadly it can affect anyone, at any age, anytime. It doesn’t discriminate. Early detection can save your life.”

She added: “I’m going to have surgery [on Monday] to remove the tumour and then see if I need anymore treatment or if the cancer has spread.

“The hardest thing wasn’t even finding out I had cancer, it was telling my family. It broke my heart.

“If you know any of them please look after them for me until I can see them again. Especially my Katie (her girlfriend). I worry about her being on her own while I’m away.”

Who is Adele Roberts?

Roberts first rose to fame as a housemate on the third series of Big Brother in 2002. She entered the famous Elstree compound alongside the likes of Alison Hammond, Jade Goody, Kate Lawler, Alex Sibley and Jonny Regan.

She proved to be a popular housemate but she was evicted from the house on day 43, coming seventh place in the overall series which was won by Lawler.

Following her stint in the Big Brother house, Roberts embarked on a career with the BBC when she began presenting on BBC Radio 1. Roberts hosts Weekend Breakfast and she missed both her radio shows this weekend.

The Radio DJ has also achieved success as a TV presenter, fronting BBC One’s coverage of the FA People’s Cup and the London Marathon.

She has also appeared on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!

What are the symptoms of bowel cancer?

The NHS says: “More than 90% of people with bowel cancer have 1 of the following combinations of symptoms:

  • a persistent change in bowel habit – pooing more often, with looser, runnier poos and sometimes tummy (abdominal) pain
  • blood in the poo without other symptoms of piles (haemorrhoids) – this makes it unlikely the cause is haemorrhoids
  • abdominal pain, discomfort or bloating always brought on by eating – sometimes resulting in a reduction in the amount of food eaten and weight loss

“Constipation, where you pass harder stools less often, is rarely caused by serious bowel conditions.

“Most people with these symptoms do not have bowel cancer.”

What is bowel cancer screening?

NHS bowel cancer screening checks if you could have bowel cancer. It’s available to everyone aged 60 or over, with the programme expanding to include 56 year olds in 2021.

You use a home test kit, called a faecal immunochemical test (FIT), to collect a small sample of poo and send it to a lab. This is checked for tiny amounts of blood.

Regular NHS bowel cancer screening reduces the risk of dying from the disease.

Bowel cancer is the 4th most common type of cancer and screening can help find it at an early stage, when it’s easier to treat.

How to get a home test kit

Everyone aged 60 to 74 who is registered with a GP and lives in England is automatically sent a bowel cancer screening kit every 2 years.

All you need to do is make sure your GP practice has your correct address so your kit is posted to the right place.

If you’re 75 or over, you can ask for a kit every 2 years by phoning the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60.

If you’re worried about a family history of bowel cancer or have any symptoms, speak to a GP for advice. 

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