A bowel cancer survivor is urging people with symptoms not to let embarrassment be the death of them.
Quarry foreman Roland Lock, 56, of Ashton, near Oundle, who had a tumour removed last July, is backing a Government campaign to raise awareness of the symptoms of the disease, which killed 170 people in the county last year.
Mr Lock noticed blood and mucus in his poo, found himself going to the toilet four or five times in the morning and had stomach cramps four months earlier
He said: “At the back of my mind I had thought about bowel cancer as I knew I was at greater risk of it because of my age.
“I mentioned it to my wife, Claire, and she said I should go to the doctor but you know what men are like. I thought it might go away.
“Of course, it didn’t and I know now that I left it too long before I did anything, so realise I’m lucky that my diagnosis was in time.
“Some people might not like talking about their bowels but the doctors have heard it all before.”
As part of the Be Clear on Cancer campaign people who have had blood in their poo or loose poo for more than three weeks should see their doctor. Bowel cancer killed 17 people in Kettering, 10 in Corby, 13 in Wellingborough and 23 in East Northamptonshire in 2008. There were 400 cases in the county that year.
GP lead for the East Midlands Cancer Network Dr Saqib Mirza said: “With bowel cancer claiming about 170 lives in Northamptonshire each year, this campaign is instrumental in raising awareness of the early signs and symptoms and potentially saving hundreds of lives.”