A survey by Colon Cancer Concern has revealed that less than a third of bowel cancer patients took action within a month of the start of their symptoms.
The poll was based on 150 patients who had called the charity's information line. It also found that 17 per cent waited more than six months once they had concerns and that 20 per cent were unaware or unsure of symptoms.
Results will be released to the media later in April, as Bowel Cancer Awareness Month draws to a close (Third Sector, 17 March).
The charity aims to eradicate the embarrassment, ignorance and fear connected with bowel cancer.
Jola Gore-Booth, chief executive, said bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK, but treatable if caught early.