This Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, we would like to shine a light on the incredible work of Joanne Barlow, Outreach Support Officer for Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust.
Based at the Walsall Palliative Care Centre, Joanne works alongside colleagues in community and GP surgeries to increase the uptake of bowel screening while supporting those already diagnosed with the condition (which is recognised as one of the most common cancers in the UK).
No two days are the same for Jo, one day she may be offering emotional support for either patient and/or their carer, and the next she may be engaging with local people about the importance of bowel screening. But one thing is for certain, every day she is emphasising the importance of getting checked out – this is because nearly everyone survives bowel cancer if caught early.
“Everyone aged 60 to 74, who is registered with a GP and lives in England, is sent an NHS home test kit every two years,” says Jo.
“The test is simple to use and only take a few minutes to complete – it could change your life dramatically so please complete yours as soon as it arrives.”
Jo’s unique role allows her to be creative in how she breaks down stigmas and dispels misinformation about bowel cancer. She said: “I feel privileged to meet so many people and for them to trust me enough to give them the right information and to listen to their concerns.
“I like to hope that for every individual I meet – I can make a difference to their journey and help their families, even in a small way. I am passionate about my role and I am certainly #WalsallandProud to make sure our patients have access to the right healthcare and treatment.”
If you have a community event coming up in Walsall, and you would like Jo to drop by and raise awareness, or you or a family member have received a cancer diagnosis or have a life limiting condition and would like support call her on 01922 602610 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
In the UK, every 15 minutes somebody is diagnosed with bowel cancer – that is nearly 43,000 a year. So, if you’re eligible, get your screening check today!