Former Town star Jon Walters praised for bowel cancer Tweets

Jon Walters rejoined Ipswich (briefly) earlier this season. Picture: ROSS HALLS

Jon Walters rejoined Ipswich (briefly) earlier this season. Picture: ROSS HALLS - Credit: Archant

Former Ipswich Town star Jon Walters has earned widespread praise after tweeting about his experiences of having a colonoscopy in a bid to boost awareness of bowel cancer.

Walters, 35, who rejoined Town on loan earlier this season after playing for Stoke and Burnley in the Premier League, told his followers that his mother, Helen, had died of the disease at the age of 40 and he was having the test in case he had inherited a faulty gene.

In a series of Tweets he jokily describes the process and the laxative he had to take to prepare for the procedure – but underlying the light-hearted comments is a serious message.

He said: “I’ve shared this with you for a reason! Colonoscopies aren’t a joke and neither is bowel cancer. It’s vile disease that can be prevented with some education and awareness on early signs of the disease. There’s no shame in doing what I’ve done.”

His Tweets won praise from Bowel Cancer UK which raises money for research into the disease and supports sufferers and their families – and has web pages full of advice.

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Lauren Wiggins, Director of Services at Bowel Cancer UK, said: “We feel incredibly grateful to Jon for raising awareness of his experience of having a colonoscopy to reduce his risk of being diagnosed with bowel cancer.

“The disease is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer, but it shouldn’t be as it’s treatable and curable especially if diagnosed early.

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“Taking part in bowel cancer screening, and having further tests if needed like a colonoscopy, is one of the best ways to diagnose the disease early, when treatment is more successful.”

For those who are diagnosed with the disease at a young age, there can be a hereditary risk to others in their family and screening can be offered to try to identify changes in the bowel, usually polyps, which can turn cancerous if not removed.

Screening doesn’t catch all polyps that can lead to cancer – but it can also detect the disease at an early stage which allows effective treatment through surgery.

That can involve a week or two in hospital, six to 12 weeks recovering at home and possibly a course of chemotherapy to try to ensure the disease doesn’t return.

Anyone with any concerns should contact their GP.

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