Sunday, 11 April 2021

Spring unlocked

Well, firstly, welcome back to you all. It has been sometime since our last post and things have certainly been a little different over the last year. We can only hope that as we go forward in to our “unlocked spring” of 2021 that there is blue sky ahead of us and we have made it through the stormy times. We cannot stress the importance of staying safe, more so now than ever, to keep us all as fit and healthy as able. Whilst we all wish to get back to normal, we must all embrace the “new normal” with masks, distance and hand cleanliness. All of which are vital in stopping the spread of any pandemic. Hand washing throughout the day should already be a vital part of our armoury in quashing things like the common cold. Sadly, pandemics and outbreaks only highlight humanities inability to under take this simple task. Please follow the guidelines for a safer place to live and go about our daily lives.

Now, all of that said, what better way to start off our “unlocked” status than promoting Bowel Cancer Awareness Month. This means be aware of your bowel habits and do something about it if things are changing. You may think that it is obvious, but our hospital team see hundreds of people a year with a new diagnosis of bowel cancer, who have either ignored their symptoms or been too frightened  to do anything about it because they worry about a cancer diagnosis, or they do not want to undergo the tests. Bowel cancer is one of the more curable cancers if caught early enough. Therein lies the importance of one tiny word “if”,  because, “if ” you do something about it, “if” you go through the test/s and “if” you work with your specialist team whose aim is to get the best possible outcome for you. So our simple message is, be aware of your bowels and “if” things change, do something about it.  Now, another thing that people often say is “ I saw my GP and they advised.... but it didn’t work, and here I am”. Many people are asked, “Did you go back to the GP when it didn’t work?” And many times, the answer is “no”. If you are concerned, please do something about it, and that includes raising your concerns with your GP. To see/ deal with the ever growing population of this country, health care workers need you to be clear about what the problem is and what your concerns are; making a list often helps because we can all get a bit sidetracked or lost in a conversation that talks about something that may embarrass you. Be clear about your symptoms, the duration of the symptoms and your concerns. There are many bowel disorders that mimic bowel cancer, so raising the problem is the first step towards determining what the problem is. 

One of the many things our hospital team reported people complaining about during the pandemic was constipation. Here is our ideal opportunity to talk about the importance of bowel health. 
Firstly, everybody’s bowel is different; what is normal for you, may not be normal for anyone else. 
Secondly, there are three things that are vital to bowel health and they are as follows;
1. Diet - a good healthy balanced diet; this means including fruit and vegetables, fibre in the form of grains (beans/peas/pulses/seeded breads/cereals etc) and protein of your choice. Sadly, for many, chocolate or alcohol don’t fall in to those groups.
2. Hydration - every cell in the body needs to be well hydrated to function at its best. Tea and coffee alone can be dehydrating, as can alcohol, if drunk in the quantities that have become popular today. Water, juice or squash (non sugar based) should also be a staple part of your daily routine to keep the body well lubricated/functioning. The bowel needs to be well hydrated to enable passage of stools and lack of oral intake is one of the big contributors to constipation. 
3. Exercise - Exercise helps in moving the stools through the bowel in a timely fashion, preventing them from sitting too long in the colon and becoming dry and hard to pass. Constipation can also make you feel bloated, nauseous and generally unwell as it is a water product sitting in a confined space for too long.  Think about a rubbish bag full of household scraps and general debris sat out in the weather for too long - not a pleasant thought.

So, we can all be complacent when things are going well with our bowels, indeed bowels are one of the underestimated systems of the body, however, bowel cancer is “up there” with the common cancers in the UK. Only you can start the process of elimination to find out what the problem is. 

“The hardest part of any journey, is taking that first step” (unknown)
                                  




Sunday, 8 September 2019

Cycling to Paris..

Well, there are some great photos arriving on Twitter from the cycling foursome, all looking rather dashing in their cycling shirts with our lovely charity logo on them. Way to go guys.

Head on over to @richbamford81 to see how they are getting on. Keep going guys, you are nearly there.

A huge thank you to @JuggsLewes  (what a great name!) on the way to Newhaven who gave our intrepid four a discount on their meal because they were cycling for charity. Now that is what we call 
generous, thank @JuggsLewes.


Thursday, 5 September 2019

London to Paris.........



We are thrilled and delighted to inform you that Consultant Colorectal Surgeon, Richard Bamford, who works at Our local District General Hospital, Musgrove Park Hospital, is undertaking a sponsored cycle ride from London to Paris this weekend, with three intrepid friends in aid of our very own charity. This is quite some feat and something they have been preparing for over the last few months. Richard was aiming to raise £1000 and has set up a just giving page for donations. To date he has raised just over the target but is still looking for sponsorship. The ride starts on 6th September 2019, so there is still time to sponsor the four riders. Please head over to the Justgiving.com website and search for Richard Bamford if you wish to help him and his team attain their goals. There are 300 Kilometres to cover before they arrive in Paris, no doubt weary and maybe a tad saddle sore.

We are truly grateful for the time and effort that you are dedicating to this ride for us, so please accept our heartfelt thanks Richard, along with your friends Paul Smith, Dan Stickland & Tom Baker.

May the wind be behind you, particularly on the way home. 

We expect regular updates and know that you will be presenting evidence of the ride to the group as a guest speaker at our the Annual Autumn Event scheduled for 12th October at Somerset County Cricket Ground - watch this space for more details in the very near future

We can follow Richard and his friends on Twitter on @richbamford81

Monday, 24 September 2018

Annual Autumn Event 2018

Well, what a great day we had on Saturday for our Annual Autum Event. A huge thank you to all of you that attended and made it such a great day. Our Chairman gave us an update on the last year's activities and plans for the coming year, which included a report from our Treasurer. This was followed by a talk from Maggie Crowe, a representative from Macmillan who outlined the way in which they support your local Trust in a large variety of ways; Siobhan Linsey, Outreach Librarian "Dr Google & Health Information on the internet" - a fascinating talk on how to use the internet safely. This was then followed by Dr Mike Galli on "The GP's Perspective" of a cancer diagnosis.
All three were really interesting talks and we thank them for giving their time and professional experience freely. A question and Answer session followed with questions on a variety of topics raised by the audience for the panel made up of the three speakers and professionals from your local Trust. 

Over a rather delicious lunch that was accompanied by wine, the raffle was drawn with prizes ranging from fine champagne, vouchers for Mole Valley Farmers, Pynes of Somerset (Butchers), and luxury foodstuffs to name but a few. Thank you particularly to Pynes of Somerset and Mole Valley Farmers for their contributions to the raffle prizes. We will update you on the final figures for the raffle and donations once received from our Treasurer.

Once again it was really lovely to see so many of you and hear how you are doing, thank you.
Plus a huge thank you to those of you who have volunteered to become members of the committee; it is not an onerous undertaking but a charity really needs a core of people to keep it going and for that reason we are delighted that a number of people have agreed to join us which means we can now plan ahead for the coming year with surety.


Saturday, 17 March 2018

April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and we just wanted to remind you. Why? Well, because awareness saves lives, as many of you will know. 
So if you have symptoms, see your GP, don't be shy or worried, just do it. 
If you are 55, you will at some point receive a charming invite to undergo a one off flexible sigmoidoscopy here in Somerset - do take up the offer; it could save your life.
Lastly, if you are over the age of sixty, and a "poo kit" lands on your door mat courtesy of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme, please do it; it could save your life.

The message we aim to give is, don't sit on your butt, be proactive and actively try to save your own life. It has taken so long to get Bowel Cancer screening that it is such a shame so many people ignore it - and for many, that can be fatal. 1 in 3 people are diagnosed with cancer, try not to let that be you.


We have been researching how other countries raise awareness. We were really delighted to see that Australians have Red Apple Day - clearly, apples are big in relation to bowels! They have a great slogan "Preventable, Treatable, Beatable" which should become a mission statement for us too.

So firstly, please, please do the screening, and secondly, raise awareness. You can raise awareness in many ways, such as;
* Taking part in Stand Up To Cancer Events - the proceeds of which go to research in to Cancer.      Take a look at the link below to see how to get involved
https://www.standuptocancer.org.uk/
* If you have had Bowel Cancer, allay people's fears about tests and encourage them to just get it done

* Support us to support you - we are a small Bowel Cancer awareness group compared to our Australian cousins but no less passionate about raising awareness, treating Bowel Cancer and beating Bowel Cancer.
Be proactive - Get screened, get active, eat well, laugh, live. Many don't

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Happy Christmas everybody

Well, as we come to the end of another busy year, we wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We hope you have a peaceful and joyful festive period with your families, friends  and loved ones. Enjoy those festive treats and laugh long and loud if you can, for as we all know too well, this is not a rehearsal and life is for living.

                                         MERRY CHRISTMAS 🎄

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Charity presentation...

Today, committee members of Somerset Bowel Cancer Support Group Charity,  presented a cheque to members of the Colorectal Cancer Team at Musgrove Park Hospital for £16,750. The monies have funded  an air seal machine, as seen in the picture, that allows complex rectal surgery to be undertaken at the Trust - a procedure that had not previously been available locally. The group has also funded two surgeons from the Colorectal Cancer Team, who specialise  in rectal surgery, to attend training in the procedure.

This picture shows, from left to right,  Maria Salter, Colorectal Nurse Specialist & committee member, Lorraine Cooke & John Fielding, committee members of our group presenting the cheque to Mr Eyre Brook, Senior Colorectal Surgeon, Mr Vickery, Colorectal Surgeon, former Chairmen and one of the founding members of the group, plus Lead Colorectal Specialist Nurse, committee member and founding member of the group, Nicky Forsyth.




It was a pleasure to be able to present such a generous cheque to the department that allowed for purchase of this impressive piece of equipment for the benefit of Colorectal patients. This has only been possible through the generous donations made by you, our members and supporters, for which we thank you.


We will soon be letting you know about our next target for the groups fundraising efforts, so do come back for updates.