MORE than 500 shoppers took the opportunity to investigate a giant inflatable colon at the Holmbush Shopping Centre in Shoreham.
Brighton and Hove Albion players, health professionals, volunteers and the club’s mascot Gully took part on Sunday, April 27, to help raise awareness of bowel cancer, as part of an initiative between Albion in the Community, the NHS, local GPs and Macmillan Cancer Support.
The event marked the end of national bowel cancer awareness month and featured a walk-through colon to encourage involvement from shoppers.
Albion players Christian Walton and Josh Smith were among those who talked to people about the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer and the NHS bowel screening programme, which is available to men and women over the age of 60.
Sue Brown from Albion in the Community said: “It was great to see so many people who wanted to talk to us about bowel cancer and the screening programme.
“Having the colon there stimulated lots of interest and sparked conversation. A number of people said that they would now be more comfortable going to see their GP and taking part in the screening programme as a result of being at the event and speaking to health professionals and our volunteers.”
The event was also part of a wider initiative to increase local uptake of the bowel screening programme and encourage more people to complete their screening tests.
Dr Shamim Taherzadeh, Macmillan GP from Northbourne Medical Centre Practice in Shoreham, said: “Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in the UK but early detection and treatment can remove the cancer completely.
“Last year however, only six out of ten people in Adur who were offered a screening test completed it and returned their kit. As GPs in Adur, we recognise that this simple test saves lives, and encourage all our patients to do the test or speak to us about any concerns.”
Doctors in the district are writing to patients who do not complete their tests to encourage them and to offer advice and information.
The project is already proving successful, with a positive reaction from the people receiving letters and then deciding to complete the test.
Detailed results are expected later this year, but in the first two months of the project, more than 14 per cent of the people who have received letters have completed a screening test kit.
Visit www.cancerscreening.nhs.uk/bowel or call the NHS bowel screening hotline on 0800 7076060 to find out more.