‘People should not feel embarrassed about poo’ – Jeremy Bowen

Talking more openly about poo will help people feel more comfortable to seek advice if they have concerns, BBC journalist Jeremy Bowen has said.

The Middle East editor was diagnosed with bowel cancer in October last year after suffering “funny pains” in his leg and back.

After he revealed his diagnosis in April the number of visits to the main NHS bowel cancer advice page almost tripled.

He told the annual NHS Expo conference in Manchester: “If you’re in a dangerous place like I have been you can get somewhere safe.

“When you’ve got cancer you have to face up to it and there’s nowhere to hide.

“People should not feel embarrassed about poo.

“It’s part of our daily lives and if there is something wrong in that department it’s very important that you can go to your GP and get it checked.

“So let’s not die of embarrassment. Let’s make cancer an entertaining memory rather than something worse.”

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS medical director, said: “I want to thank Jeremy for speaking out and helping to raise awareness on this important issue.

“Being so prudish about poo does risk lives – how often someone goes and consistency can be an early indicator that something isn’t right, so it is really important everyone is more aware of their own poo and when to seek a medical opinion.”

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