The Chelsea Foundation held a bowel cancer awareness workshop with Paul Canoville last week as part of a national government campaign which is running until March.

In conjunction with Premier League Health and INWL PCT's South Westminster's Men's Health Project, the workshop took place at Andrew's Boys' Club in South Westminster. Local NHS staff provided vital information on the symptoms of bowel cancer and what to do if you are experiencing the symptoms. Canoville also took part, offering an insight into cancer and speaking about his personal experience of dealing with the disease and said,

'My commitment to any campaign involving cancer becomes very sincere to me and to be able to share and explain of my past illness to the younger generation is very important,' said Canoville.

'I hope I can help them understand just how serious an issue our health can be and how important it is to look after our bodies.'

The workshop's aim was to encourage men to seek advice on cancer earlier. Men are typically reluctant to utilise health services and the workshop was a way of bringing health professionals and key messages to men in the local area.

Key facts covered in the workshop were:

• Bowel cancer is typically diagnosed very late leading to worse outcomes, therefore awareness and presenting to the GP is important.
• Bowel cancer is more common in men than women.
• Lack of physical activity is an independent risk factor for cancer.

The workshop was held during the National Bowel Cancer Awareness Campaign, which was launched by the Department of Health on Monday 30 January. It is the first ever national Government cancer campaign and will run until the end of March.

Dr Melanie Smith, Director of Public Health for Kensington and Chelsea, said: 'Far too many people aren't aware of the early symptoms of bowel cancer. This matters because when spotted early bowel cancer can be more successfully treated. We are delighted to be working with the Chelsea FC Foundation to tell more people about when they need to see their GP.'

In England, bowel cancer is the third most common type of cancer, with an estimated 33,000 new cases diagnosed by year - this equates to around 107 new cases each day. An estimated 13,000 people die annually from bowel cancer, and in men, it is the third most common cancer after prostate and lung cancer. Around 95 per cent of all diagnoses are in people over the age of 50.

Bowel Cancer UK have setup a specific set resources on their website that includes informative factsheets and FAQs - click here for more information. You can also gain additional information from the Bowel Cancer Support Service direct (0800 840 3540).