Andrex to list bowel cancer symptoms on packaging in move prompted by Dame Deborah James

The move was prompted by Dame Deborah James, who has raised millions in aid of bowel cancer research. Credit: Instagram/bowelbabe

Andrex will start listing bowel cancer symptoms on its packaging, the toilet paper brand has announced, as it thanked Dame Deborah James for her tireless campaigning around the disease.

The company announced that "vital bowel cancer information" will be added to 29 million toilet rolls as part of a partnership with charity Bowel Cancer UK.

Shoppers will be able to scan a QR code on the packaging to learn more about the disease and symptoms from September.

Andrex thanked mother-of-two Dame Deborah, who is receiving end-of-life care at her parents' home in Woking, Surrey, for her "incredible work" around raising awareness of the disease after she was diagnosed in late 2016.

The move comes after M&S earlier this month announced plans to add life-saving information on its own brand toilet paper packaging, with Dame Deborah, 40, calling on more brands to follow suit saying "forget about the puppies".

M&S employee Cara Hoofe, who was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in 2016 at the age of 32, came up with the idea and submitted it to her employer.

In an emotional video, Dame Deborah told Ms Hoofe - who said the pair have been big supports to one another during cancer treatment - that she was "really proud" that she "finally did it".

Dame Deborah told ITV's Lorraine: "It's the start of things to come, I think we should now do a big shout out to other companies now, saying come on where's your signs and symptoms.

"I'm bored of the puppies. We need actual information signposted on those loo rolls so I'm hoping lots of other big brands will now go 'yeah, hang on, this makes massive sense. This is what we need to be doing'."

Dame Deborah shared the news on her Instagram stories. Credit: Instagram/bowelbabe/andrexuk

Announcing the campaign, Andrex said that although bowel cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer, almost half of UK adults cannot name one symptom of the disease.

"We’re incredibly honoured to partner with @bowelcancerUK to help raise awareness of their incredible work. Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, and whilst there’s a lot to be done to ultimately find a cure, we’re proud to be starting our support by offering key information to more than one in three households, by adding a QR code that leads to signs and symptoms of the disease onto our packaging," the brand wrote on Instagram."Thank you @bowelcancerUK for your incredible work."

The launch comes after Dame Deborah raised £1 million for cancer research through sales of her clothing line with In The Style.

The former deputy headteacher-turned campaigner has been candid about her cancer journey and has shared regular updates about her treatment with her 900,00 Instagram followers since her diagnosis over five years ago.

Last month, she announced she had written another book, titled How To Live When You Could Be Dead, documenting what she has learned about having a positive mindset when faced with life’s biggest challenges.

Despite not being due to be published until August, the book shot to number one on the Amazon list through pre-orders, with her royalties going towards her BowelBabe Fund.

She was also honoured with a damehood by the Duke of Cambridge at her home for her “tireless campaigning” efforts.

What are the symptoms of bowel cancer?

According to the NHS, the three main symptoms of bowel cancer are:

  • persistent blood in your poo – that happens for no obvious reason or is associated with a change in bowel habit

  • a persistent change in your bowel habit – which is usually having to poo more and your poo may also become more runny

  • persistent lower, bloating or discomfort – that's always caused by eating and may be associated with loss of appetite and weight

However, the NHS says most people with these symptoms do not have bowel cancer. Other health problems can cause similar symptoms such as a change in diet or haemorrhoids.

The NHS recommends seeing your GP if you have any of the symptoms of bowel cancer for three weeks or more.

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