NEARLY a quarter of people in the region could only name one of the five most common bowel cancer symptoms in a survey.

And more than a third of respondents couldn't name any.

The findings have been released as part of a campaign to raise awareness of the disease, which is the UK's fourth most common cancer.

As part of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, people are being urged to learn the symptoms and act if they suffer from any.

The YouGov survey was commissioned by the Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer charity, which voiced "alarm" at the low awareness of symptoms in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Only two per cent of those questioned were able to name all five of the most common symptoms – blood in your poo or from your bottom, a change of bowel habit, a pain in your stomach or a lump, extreme weight loss and unexplained tiredness/fatigue.

The charity says that being aware of the signs and visiting your GP if symptoms are showing greatly increases the chances of an early diagnosis.

This month alone, an estimated 1,300-plus people will die from the disease.

But bowel cancer is treatable and curable, especially if it is discovered early.

"Nearly everyone diagnosed at the earliest stage will survive but this drops significantly as the disease develops," said Deborah Alsina, for Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer.

"Every day I hear from families about the devastating effects of a diagnosis. Our vision is that by 2050, no one will die from bowel cancer, and raising awareness of the symptoms is a key step towards achieving this.

"If you experience any of the symptoms or just don't feel quite right, no matter what your age, please visit your GP. Don't worry about wasting their time. If you are worried that something is wrong, they will want to see you. Your GP may be able to put your mind at rest.

"If it is something serious, the earlier you get a diagnosis, the better the chance of successful treatment and cure."

Among those supporting the campaign is 60-year-old Barbara Hibbert, who didn't recognise the symptoms of the disease and was diagnosed late.

Her cancer is now terminal.

"I hadn't felt great for a while and had less energy, but I thought it was just because I was getting older," she said.

"Over the years I had also started to need to go to the toilet more urgently – but again I put this down to age.

"One day I went to give blood and they recommended I saw my GP because I was severely anaemic.

"At the time I was busy with work so it took a couple of weeks to get blood tests and results, but as soon as they were available the GP referred me to hospital for an emergency appointment and a few days afterwards I had a colonoscopy. I saw the tumour as soon as the consultant did.

"Unfortunately, as I didn't know the symptoms of bowel cancer, I delayed visiting the GP and was diagnosed late.

"This is why I am so passionate about raising awareness of bowel cancer symptoms and the importance of visiting your GP if you notice anything unusual."

Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer has produced a free symptoms guide.

For more details, visit