Surge in people seeking bowel cancer information after Deborah James's update

·2-min read

People looking for information about bowel cancer symptoms "has never been higher" following awareness raised by campaigner Dame Deborah James, charities have told Sky News.

James revealed last week she had moved to hospice-at-home care for her terminal bowel cancer, telling her followers nobody knows how long she has left.

The 40-year-old has raised more than £6m for cancer charities - but revealed this week she will not live long enough to see the publication of her second book, How To Live When You Could Be Dead.

Her updates have prompted a huge spike in people visiting cancer charity websites, with "tens of thousands" searching for bowel cancer information in recent days.

Cancer Research UK said it has seen "double" the normal number of visitors.

Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK's chief executive, said: "Since being diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016, Deborah James has shared her story with the world to raise awareness of the importance of early diagnosis, break down barriers and challenge taboos around cancer.

"Her honesty and humour has changed the conversation around cancer and undoubtedly has had a huge impact on raising public awareness. Over the last week, we've seen double the number of visits to our bowel cancer information pages.

"It's important for everyone to know what feels normal for them, and to contact their GP if they notice any unusual or persistent changes. While most changes won't be cancer, if it is, an early diagnosis can make all the difference."

Genevieve Edwards, chief executive of Bowel Cancer UK, said: "Traffic to bowelcanceruk.org.uk has never been higher, with tens of thousands more people seeking information about the disease in recent days.

"There has also been a spike in people affected by bowel cancer posting on our forum and contacting our Ask the Nurse service."

The charity added that "almost 43,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year in the UK" and that Dame Deborah had "campaigned tirelessly" to raise awareness.

Read more:
Deborah James leaves house for first time in 10 days to celebrate book topping bestseller list

Dame Deborah James 'gutted' she won't be alive to see her second book published

Symptoms can include "bleeding from your bottom or blood in your poo", it said.

But people should also be aware of a "persistent and unexplained" change in bowel habit, weight loss, extreme tiredness and pains or a lump in the stomach.

Bowel Cancer UK added "most people with these symptoms" will not have the disease as other health issues can cause similar symptoms, but that they should see their GP if something doesn't feel quite right.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting