‘Simple test saved my life,’ says shop owner

John Rayson who is standing for Sidmouth town council. Ref shs 5056-14-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

John Rayson who is standing for Sidmouth town council. Ref shs 5056-14-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

A business owner who discovered he had bowel cancer after using a home screening kit says that the test saved his life – and is urging more people in Sidmouth to make use of them.

John Rayson, who runs Sidmouth Stationery, was diagnosed with the disease after the test showed up abnormal results.

Screening kits are sent out automatically to everyone who is registered with a GP shortly after their 60th birthday, and provide an effective way to spot cancer early on. However, only half of people who receive a kit actually use it – something that Mr Rayson hopes to change.

The 67-year-old said: “Doing the test saved my life.

“One in three people will suffer from some form of cancer during their lives. But in Sidmouth it’s probably closer to one in two, because the population is older.”

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The illness is the third most common cancer in the UK, and the second leading cause of cancer deaths - with more than 80 per cent of cases arising in those who are aged 60 and over.

Mr Rayson said he thought that relatively few people use the screening tests because they may feel uncomfortable or embarrassed.

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He added: “The taboos regarding cancer and body motions need to be lifted.

“Everyone should regularly look at their poo.

“Fortunately for me, my tumour was found in time for it to be operated on and I am now making good progress.

“The very sad and unexplainable fact is that nearly 50 per cent of the people who are sent the bowel screening test do not return it.

“However, bowel cancer is called the stealthy killer because there is often no visible signs or symptoms.”

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