Sam Kendal-Hyde, head of Bupa's Healthline, the 24-hour nursing helpline, was no shrinking violet when she took part in Loud Tie Day recently in aid of the charity Beating Bowel Cancer.

The day aims to raise awareness of bowel cancer, a disease that kills more than 17,000 people in the UK every year, and to raise money towards better diagnosis of the disease.

Bupa's survey finds two-thirds of the UK population are unaware of the scale of the problem. Of those who felt able to talk to their doctor about bowel cancer symptoms, almost half found it an embarrassing subject to discuss.