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Tuesday, 20 March, 2001, 01:27 GMT
Millions read on the toilet
A favourite place to read.....
The toilet, it seems, is one of the most popular places for people to enjoy an undisturbed read.

A survey by the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) found that four out of 10 people read in the toilet.

Nearly half (49%) of men admitted to reading while on the loo, compared with 26% of women.

Newspapers were the most popular option, with 14% admitting to catching up on the current affairs whilst in the toilet.

One in 10 flicked through a magazine while 8% read a book and 4% perused their bills.

Reading on the loo is fine, but it's ironic that this survey finds more people read on the loo than regularly look back before flushing

John Northover, Imperial Cancer Research Fund
The ICRF commissioned the survey to coincide with the launch of National Bowel Cancer Month in April.

The initiative is aimed at raising awareness of a disease that is now the third most common form of cancer in the UK. In 1998, 17,000 died from it.


Nine out of 10 cases of bowel cancer can be treated effectively if the disease is caught early enough.

However, many people leave it too late to seek treatment.

The ICRF poll found that people were as uncomfortable about discussing bowel problems with their family doctor as they were about talking about sexual problems.

Only a quarter recognised bleeding from the bottom as a possible symptom of bowel cancer.

And more than half (54%) never check for any signs of blood before flushing the toilet.

John Northover, director of the ICRF's Bowel Cancer Unit, said: "Reading on the loo is fine, but it's ironic that this survey finds more people read on the loo than regularly look back before flushing.

"People might read an article about bowel cancer, but then fail to do something as simple as a quick check in the toilet bowl which could give an early warning."

Dr Wendy Atkin, deputy director of the ICRF's bowel cancer unit, said: "As well as looking out for any persistent changes in bowel habit which are not normal for you, it is useful to find out if you have a family history of bowel cancer as you can inherit and increased risk of developing the disease.

"Getting people to talk about this within their families could make it easier to seek medical help when necessary."

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19 Mar 01 | Health
Bowel cancer 'undetected'
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