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#NewProfilePic for April 2023

01 April 2023 - Every month, a different member of staff will be our #NewProfilePic on social media

This month’s new profile picture is Tolulope Ayofe (Tolu), Specialist Screening Practitioner (SSP) in the bowel cancer team at King’s College Hospital. Tolu provides care for patients in Southwark and Lambeth through bowel cancer screening.

How long have you been working at King’s and why do you like it?

For the past 15 years I have worked at King’s College Hospital in different wards and departments. I enjoy working here because of King’s values – we are a kind and respectful team! We treat people in the way which reflects our values. I also enjoy working here because it’s not far from my house, I’ve always liked to be with the best and King’s is among the best hospitals in the world, and lastly because of the diversity.

What makes your role special to you and the patients you care for?

My role and the department is so special and important because we raise awareness of bowel cancer; every 15 minutes somebody is diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK, that’s nearly 43,000 people each year. Bowel screening aims to find bowel cancer early, before symptoms develop. More than 9 out of 10 people survive bowel cancer when it is diagnosed at an early stage.

My role enables me to have a strong focus and influence over the quality, safety and effectiveness of the care that is delivered to our patients. As a specialist screening practitioner, I have the opportunity to shape the culture of King’s by creating environments where people can be safe, and trust our professional staff to deliver outstanding care.

Are there any memorable moments in your role?

Very difficult to choose one as there are many. The most rewarding moments are when a patient or their loved ones tells me that they were safe and supported during their treatment of bowel cancer. I recently experienced this from a patient and his family, they felt cared for and listened to, from the clinic assessment day, preparations of their colonoscopy procedure until the end of their surgery.

Is there anything interesting about your role at King’s that people may not have known?

As a bowel cancer screening specialist, we as a team have always said it is our perfect job as there is more scope for relationship building. It also fits our personalities as we love a natter, and that’s often-what people call for, a chin wag and to get something off their chest. Working with cancer patients means there are days when we cry together as a team and bawl our eyes out, but it is so rewarding – people remember what you did for them at the lowest time of their lives.
In addition to my role as a SSP Nurse, I was an experienced endoscopy sister before joining the Bowel Cancer Screening team at King’s. The King’s BCS programme is open to all in supporting both men and women.

April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, why is this important to mark and what can patients do to prevent bowel cancer?

The main three symptoms of bowel cancer are:

  • persistent blood in your poo, that happens for no obvious reason or is associated with a change in bowel habit
  • a persistent change in your bowel habit. This is usually having to poo more and your poo may also become more runny
  • persistent lower abdominal (tummy) pain, bloating or discomfort, that’s always caused by eating and may be associated with loss of appetite or significant unintentional weight loss

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