How community pharmacists help with the early detection of bowel cancer

By Howard Duff, RPS Director for England

The UK’s cancer survival rates lag behind those of Europe.  One reason for this is that patients often present when their cancer is quite advanced, meaning their treatment options are more limited and their lives shortened as a result.  Detecting cancer earlier is essential to the one in three of us who will develop the disease during our lifetime.

Many individuals in the early stages of cancer self-medicate because they do not recognise their symptoms as important.

We think that pharmacists can do much more to help patients recognise the importance of early detection and encourage them to take action when they have symptoms that may be of concern. Over 80% of pharmacies now have private areas where you can have a chat without being overheard, meaning more and more people feel they can seek advice and questions about their health from their pharmacist.  Read more How community pharmacists help with the early detection of bowel cancer