Know the Score, supported by the Professional Footballers’ Association and League Managers Association, aims to raise awareness of bowel cancer signs and symptoms.
Bowel cancer is the UK’s fourth most common cancer, with 41,000 new cases each year. It’s also the second biggest cause of cancer death.
Every 90 minutes three people die of the disease. That’s 44 people each day – the equivalent to four football teams – but it needn’t be that way.
* If you’ve had bleeding from the bottom or a persistent change to looser or more frequent bowel movements for the last three weeks, tell your doctor. Other symptoms include a pain or lump in your tummy; feeling more tired than usual; losing weight for no obvious reason.
* You’re not wasting anyone’s time by getting it checked out. If it’s not serious, your mind will be eased, but if it is bowel cancer, research suggests that over 90% of patients will survive the disease for more than five years if diagnosed at the earliest stage. A trip to your doctor could save your life.
* You can also call the Beating Bowel Cancer confidential helpline 08450 719301 (low call rate) or email [email protected]
The main aim of Know the Score is to end the perception that bowel cancer is an old person’s illness – in fact it affects men and women of any age.
Former England and Arsenal keeper David Seaman said: “Bowel cancer can affect anyone at any age so it’s really important everyone is aware of the symptoms as early as possible. I am supporting Know the Score because it’s great that football is coming together to raise awareness of the disease during Bowel Cancer Awareness Month.”
Throughout football ‘Star of Hope’ badges are being worn during the campaign, which is also supported by the Men’s Health Forum and leading bowel cancer charities.
Stephanie Moore, wife of England legend Bobby Moore, said: “I started the Bobby Moore Fund after my husband Bobby died from bowel cancer in 1993, aged just 51. Raising awareness of bowel cancer through campaigns such as Know the Score is so important, as early diagnosis saves lives.”
How to reduce your chances of getting bowel cancer
* Eat healthily: Try to get your 5-a-day. So eat more vegetables and fruit, fish, and wholegrain foods. Eat less fatty foods like cakes and pastries and fewer processed meats like bacon and ham.
* Cut down on alcohol: Drinking too much alcohol can lead to a number of health problems and is linked with bowel cancer. By drinking less, you’ll reduce your health risks.
* Look after yourself: Keep active. Swim, cycle, go dancing – the more you can do, the better. Even walking to your local shops instead of taking the car can make a difference.
* Stop smoking: Giving up will lower your risk of getting bowel cancer. Visit smokefree.nhs.uk or call 0800 169 0169.