28/06/2004

UCF applaud Coronation Street cancer storyline

The Ulster Cancer Foundation (UCF) has praised Coronation Street scriptwriters and researchers for raising the important issue of bowel cancer through Dev Alahan’s diagnosis.

The dramatic development follows Dev’s battle to come to terms with a bowel cancer diagnosis in the run up to his wedding to Maya Sharma.

Naomi Thompson, Cancer Prevention Officer, UCF said: “As with any cancer diagnosis, this new storyline is emotional rollercoaster for Dev, his family and friends.

"The storyline conveys a strong message that bowel cancer can occur at any age. However the key message is that an early diagnosis and treatment leads to a better quality of life."

Early detection is key to treatment of this disease, Ms Thompson said, with possible early symptoms including: a change in bowel habits lasting up to six weeks including diarrhoea or constipation; blood in stools; unexplained weight loss; pain or discomfort; or feeling of not having emptied bowel properly after bowel motion.

“People may feel embarrassed by the symptoms of bowel cancer however GP’s are very sensitive to the needs of the patient - and don’t forget they’ve heard it all before," Ms Thompson added.

"Some symptoms can be caused by a less serious condition, therefore people shouldn’t just wait and hope that the symptoms will disappear but get it checked out as soon as possible."

There are around 1,000 cases of bowel cancer diagnosed and 400 deaths each year in Northern Ireland.

(MB)

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