The Irish Cancer Society is in the process of launching Bowel Cancer Awareness month during April and has revealed the counties in the country with the highest bowel cancer rates.
Leitrim has been listed as the county with the second heist rate of bowel cancer. The Society is urging people in this area and other high risk areas to limit their risks by making small changes to their lifestyles.
According to statistics, Cork has the highest rate of the disease at 57.9 incidences per 100,000 a year. This figure is closely followed by that of Leitrim which is at 56.39, Louth at 54.97, Dublin North at 54.49 and Westmeath with a rate of 54.23.
It is believed that this high rate of bowel cancer incidence may be due to genetic factors and lifestyle.
According to research, adults who maintain a healthy diet and increase their physical activity could see a reduction of between 30 and 40% of their risk of developing bowel cancer. The best protection has been estimated to be 30 to 60 minutes of daily vigorous physical activity.
Bowel cancer is affected by physical activity in several ways:
- It promotes regular bowel movements and this reduces the length of time the bowel is exposed to substances with potential cancer-causing risks
- It reduces the levels of insulin and other hormones which may encourage cancer cell growth if it remains at high levels in your body
- It reduces bowel inflammation which may increase your risk to the disease
Apart from an increase in physical activity, people are asked to remain aware of the signs and the symptoms related to the condition. If bowel cancer is detected early, it can be treated with positive outcomes for patients.
People aged between 60 and 69 should partake in BowelScreen, the national bowel screening programme which is being funded by the government and delivered by the National Cancer Screening Service.
If you are called to undergo the screening test and are willing to do so, you will be sent a home test kit. The Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) will be send to you by post.
The test is able to detect small blood traces in the stools and this may indicate that further testing should be undergone.