April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month. Bowel Cancer is the second biggest UK’s killer cancer but that doesn’t need to be the case as it is treatable and curable, especially when diagnosed at an early stage.
Symptoms can include:
There are several possible causes of bleeding from your bottom or blood in your bowel movements (poo). Bright red blood may come from swollen blood vessels (haemorrhoids or piles) in your back passage. It may also be caused by bowel cancer. Dark red or black blood may come from your bowel or stomach. Tell your doctor about any bleeding so they can find out what is causing it.
Tell your GP if you have noticed any persistent and unexplained changes in your bowel habit, especially if you also have bleeding from your back passage. You may have looser poo and you may need to poo more often than normal. Or you may feel as though you’re not going to the toilet often enough or you might not feel as though you’re not fully emptying your bowels.
This is less common than some of the other symptoms. Speak to your GP if you have lost weight and you don’t know why. You may not feel like eating if you feel sick, bloated or if you just don’t feel hungry.
Bowel cancer may lead to a lack of iron in the body, which can cause anaemia (lack of red blood cells). If you have anaemia, you are likely to feel very tired and your skin may look pale.
You may have pain or a lump in your stomach area (abdomen) or back passage. See your GP if these symptoms don’t go away or if they’re affecting how you sleep or eat.
Most people with these symptoms don’t have bowel cancer, there are many other health problems that can cause similar symptoms such as piles, constipation, anal fissures or IBS.
If you have any symptoms, don’t be embarrassed and don’t ignore them – book an appointment with your GP.
For more information and advice visit Bowel Cancer UK
Please be aware that GP Practices close for the Easter Bank Holidays which are on Friday 2nd April (Good Friday) and Monday 5th April (Bank Holiday Monday).
If you need medical advice during this period you can:
Visit your pharmacy – Your local pharmacy can provide confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses and complaints. Visit nhs.uk to find a pharmacy open near you.
Use NHS 111 – If you need urgent medical advice but your condition is not life threatening. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and you can access either online or by calling 111 from your landline or mobile (all calls are free).
Dial 999 – for a genuine medical emergency including; loss of consciousness, acute confused state and fits that are not stopping, persistent and/or severe chest pain, breathing difficulties, severe bleeding that cannot be stopped dial 999.
A bit of stress is normal and can help push you to do something new or challenging, but too much stress can take its toll.
Lots of things in life can cause stress such as work, relationships, money and sometimes these kinds of stresses can affect how you feel, think and behave. It can have an effect on your sleep, your mood and even your general health.
This weeks aim is to encourage us all to take stock of how we feel and make changes to our lifestyle to help reduce stress levels. For many, self-help will vastly reduce our stresses, but others may need professional help.
Below are several self-help tips you can try to combat stress:
Get Active – Being physically active releases feelgood hormones called endorphins which can help you sleep and feel better.
Talk – Spend some time with friends and family and relax. You might even want to tell them how you’re feeling, and they may offer some practical advice.
Take Control – Try and find a solution to the problem.
Challenge Yourself – Set yourself a new challenge or goal such as walking 10,000 steps a day or learning something new.
Take some time for yourself – Put some time aside to do the things that make you feel good, whether its going for a walk or simply having a relaxing bath.
Write it down – Try writing down your worries. This process can help clear your mind and ease your tension.
If self-help isn’t working for you and you find that stress is interfering with your daily life, then talk to your GP.
SMASH PCN (Sandbach, Middlewich, Alsager, Scholar Green and Haslington) are currently inviting any patients over the age of 50 who have NOT yet received an invite for their 1st Covid-19 Vaccination to contact their surgery to book in.
If you do receive an invite and have already had the vaccine elsewhere please let your GP surgery know, to enable us to take you off the list of people to contact. You can do this by using the ‘I have received the vaccine elsewhere/I don’t want it right now button in your text message’.
We will shortly be offering patients their 2nd vaccinations prior to moving on to the younger age groups.
We are inviting you to take part in the Participant Research Experience Survey (PRES). This survey provides an opportunity for those who have taken part in research to share their experience which helps us to inform future planning. The survey results also help us with informing key stakeholders about the benefits of taking part in research.
PRES 2020/21 is now a standardised survey across all CRN networks so for the first time we will be able to take part in national benchmarking.
The survey is now live via this link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/X7RD9ZG
You will see from the last year’s results that primary care research teams in the North West Coast have made a significant and positive impact on those who have taken part in research. The results can be viewed by clicking here.
Thank you for supporting PRES
NHS Blood and Transplant are leading an urgent programme to enable a UK trial that could produce vital treatment for Covid-19 and help save more lives.
This treatment requires plasma donations from patients who have had COVID-19 and are now recovering. NHS Blood and Transplant need to collect high titre plasma from willing donors to see if this might benefit when used early on in a patient’s illness, before hospitalisation and are in particular need of recovering male patients aged 18 – 65 years to take part.
To take part in this vital programme, you can call: 0300 123 2323 or visit https://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/covid-19-research/plasma-donors/who-can-donate-plasma/.
GP practices are currently focussing on the vaccination of people aged 16-64 who are clinically vulnerable. As a result, if you are over 65 you may experience a long wait to be vaccinated at your local GP vaccination clinic.
If you are over 65 and haven’t yet had your coronavirus vaccine you can do this now by contacting the national booking service via www.nhs.uk/covidvaccination or by calling 119.
By contacting the national booking service you will gain access to flexible appointments at other local vaccination services seven days per week from 9am – 11pm.
Further details about local vaccination services are available at www.cheshireccg.nhs.uk
Anyone wanting to volunteer to help the SMASH COVID Vaccination Programme at the Middlewich Vaccination Clinic, please email:
email@example.com or call 01606 833434.
If you are wanting to volunteer to be a vaccinator or with an appropriate healthcare background and willing to train please visit cheshirevaccbank.net/
The Sandbach, Middlewich, Alsager, Scholar Green and Haslington (SMASH) PCN, have to date vaccinated over 10,000 patients in first 4 cohorts. This is an incredible feat, a huge thank you and congratulations to all those involved in making this happen as quickly and efficiently as possible.
On Monday 8 February, if you believe you are in one of the top 4 groups and haven’t heard from us, please contact your GP practice. Please don’t worry as we will prioritise anyone we may have missed.
The Sandbach, Middlewich, Alsager, Scholar Green and Haslington (SMASH) Primary Care Network (PCN) have this weekend alone, vaccinated over 3000 patients at the Covid-19 vaccination sites in Alsager and Middlewich.
A huge thanks to the amazing team and volunteers at both our sites for making this possible.
Note: If you have not yet received your invite, please be patient as we try to contact everybody within this cohort as quickly and efficiently as possible. Thank you