There was a tenfold increase in people who checked bowel cancer symptoms online immediately after the death of Lady Deborah James, the NHS has said.
More than 23,000 visits were made to National Health Service websites for bowel cancer on Wednesday, compared with 2,000 the day before.
Dame Deborah, a former deputy director, who had raised £7m for cancer research through her Bowelbabe fund, died aged 40 on Tuesday. She documented her illness on Instagram and the BBC podcast. You, me and the big C.
His last words to the public included a message for people to “check your poo, it could save your life.” NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said there was no doubt James’s message had “saved lives”.
Following the announcement of James’s death, 23,274 visits were made to NHS bowel cancer websites, where symptoms listed included changes in bowel habits, persistent abdominal pain, unexpected weight loss and unexplained fatigue. bowel cancer it is the fourth most common cancer in England, with around 37,000 new cases each year.
Paying tribute, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Dame Deborah James has left an incredible legacy and has changed the national conversation about cancer. These numbers reflect the powerful and vital impact she has had, inspiring countless people across the country to get informed, get tested and speak out.
“Having lost my father to bowel cancer, I know how devastating this disease can be, and we must continue to break down the barriers around what she called the ‘C-word’: encouraging people to have open conversations. and honest.”
He added: “Our next 10-year cancer plan will build on this with a focus on early diagnosis to help save more lives.”
Pritchard said James was “an inspiration to all of us – his death this week has shocked the nation. People often don’t feel comfortable talking about his cancer diagnosis and treatment, but Deborah speaking boldly about her personal journey has led thousands more to review symptoms. There is no doubt about it: this has saved lives.
“Now we must continue Deborah’s fantastic work in her honor… Talking about cancer saves lives. So our message to you is: don’t be prudish about poop; get checked if you have any concerning signs or symptoms.”
Dame Cally Palmer, NHS England National Cancer Director, said: “Early detection of colon cancer saves lives and Deborah has made a difference to so many with her extraordinary courage and spirit. She did the unthinkable and by getting people talking about this disease, she has been an inspiration to many.
“We must continue what Deborah started.”