BBC Radio 1 DJ Adele Roberts says early bowel cancer treatment 'saved my life'

Referrals for bowel cancer tests have been at record levels for the last 18 months. Credit: PA Images

A BBC Radio 1 DJ says receiving early treatment for bowel cancer was life-saving.

Adele Roberts underwent treatment for the second biggest cancer killer in the UK back in October 2021.

Shortly after being diagnosed with stage two of the disease, she had surgery to remove a tumour and began using a stoma bag.

What is a stoma bag?

  • A stoma bag, is a sack attached to the large bowel which collects poo from a person

  • The reason for this being stool can no longer pass out of the body through your back passage

What a stoma bag looks like.

The 44-year-old has now been cancer-free since June 2022 and is encouraging people to speak to health professionals early if they spot any of the signs and symptoms.

Roberts said: "It took me a while to pluck up the courage to call my GP at first.

"My symptoms seemed like things I could explain away. I didn't want to be a burden to the NHS and I was embarrassed.

"I shouldn't have worried. My GP took my concerns seriously, put me at ease and also offered me a home-testing kit.

"This meant I was able to do the test in the comfort of my own home.

"Soon after I was diagnosed with stage 2 bowel cancer, which was very nearly developing into stage 3.

"Getting the help I needed in time helped save my life. If you're worried please speak to someone, early detection saves lives and it helped save mine."

The DJ has joined Bowel Cancer UK in raising awareness of the condition. Credit: Instagram / Adele Roberts

The DJ is now supporting Bowel Cancer UK's new campaign highlighting the five red flag symptoms of the condition which are:

  • Blood in your stool

  • Weight loss

  • Abdominal pain

  • Change in bowel habits

  • Fatigue or tiredness

A new survey by Bowel Cancer UK has revealed that almost a quarter of people in Liverpool and nearly a third of people in Manchester cannot name any symptoms associated with bowel cancer.

This is compared with higher rates of awareness in more affluent areas, where over half of people know blood in your poo is a sign of bowel cancer, such as the South West of England (56%) and the South East of England (52%).

Credit: Instagram / Adele Roberts

Professor Peter Johnson, national clinical director for cancer at NHS England, said: "As with all cancers, acting at the first sign of symptoms can make a big difference to how bowel cancer can be treated and how successfully.

"You are much more likely to survive a cancer that is diagnosed early, which is why the NHS and charities like Bowel Cancer UK have run awareness campaigns about the signs to look for."

He added: "We would encourage people to speak to a GP about any concerning symptoms: knowing what is normal for you and acting when something isn't right can make all the difference."

Bowel Cancer UK Chief Executive Genevieve Edwards added: "It's concerning that people aren't aware of the symptoms of the UK's second biggest cancer killer.

"Someone dies from the disease every 30 minutes in the UK, which means that in the time it takes to watch an episode of your favourite soap, one family will lose a loved one to bowel cancer.

"But it doesn't have to be this way as it is treatable and curable, especially when diagnosed early."