Searches for the symptoms have shot up.
Following the death of Dame Deborah James earlier this week, the National Health Service in the UK has recorded a huge increase in searches for bowel cancer symptoms online.
Deborah had been diagnosed with bowel cancer a few years ago, and she spent the last years of her life raising awareness about the disease, both through her podcast and her Bowelbabe campaign. She passed away on Wednesday, at home surrounded by her family. She was 40-years-old.
According to BreakingNews, the day after her passing, there were 23,274 visits to the NHS’ page about bowel cancer, compared to just 2,000 on the previous day.
The NHS’ chief executive Amanda Pritchard described Dame James as an “inspiration” for dispelling stigma around poo, particularly in relation to bowel cancer.
She said: “People often don’t feel comfortable speaking about their cancer diagnosis and treatment but Deborah bravely speaking out about her personal journey has prompted thousands more people to check the symptoms. There is no doubt about it – this has been life-saving.
“We must now continue Deborah’s fantastic work in her honour.”
She added: “Talking about cancer saves lives. So, our message to you is – don’t be prudish about poo, get checked out if you have worrying signs or symptoms.”
Deborah’s family shared her final message to her followers on social media, which was: “Find a life worth enjoying; take risks; love deeply; have no regrets; and always, always have rebellious hope. And finally, check your poo – it could just save your life.”
According to the HSE, the symptoms of bowel cancer can be “subtle”, and may not “necessarily make you feel ill”. The symptoms can include a persistent change in bowel habit, blood in your poo, stomach pain, discomfort and bloating.
For more information on bowel cancer, head to the HSE’s website right here.