It might seem a slightly stinky New Year’s resolution but in 2016, scientists are calling for east Londoners to flush away the taboo around poo.
And forget about toilet humour and potty mouthed-quips - being frank about faeces, defecation and bowel habits requires expert guidance skills and the help of a Poo Racer.
They believe they can raise awareness of the danger of bowel cancer with a mission which “demonstrates poo and bowel function in a light-hearted and engaging manner.”
To trump their fellow players, East End gamers have to guide their poo vehicle out of the bowel in a healthy time as well as collecting bacteria points, making food pitstops and avoiding obstacles.
But the virtual lavatory action has a serious side and content developer Carla Brown said it could have a “great impact of society’s attitude towards bowel heath”.
By tackling the stigma around poo, they hope patients will no longer avoid doctors appointments for bowel-related symptoms which could indicate cancer.
“This factor alone may be crucial in the well-being of bowel disease patients who express difficulty in finding suitable vocabulary to discuss their symptoms with friends and medical professionals,” said Carla.
“As a nation, we need to change our attitude towards poo,” said Carla.
“This smelly, brown substance is simply our undigested food, some hitchhiker gut bacteria along for the ride, water and some lubricating mucus for your poo vehicle. Basically poo is normal and the gut is an awesome, multi-functional organ involved in immunity, brain function, stress and digestion.”
Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK, accounting for 10% of all cancer victims.
Nearly 16,000 men and women die from the disease every year.
The Poo Racer game was created in partnership with Professor Charles Knowles’ team at the National Centre for Bowel Research and Surgical Innovation (NCBRSI) and programmer Martin Rees.
Senior Research Programme Manager at NCBRSI Natasha Stevens, said: “Bowel disorders such as incontinence and constipation affect about 20 per cent of adults and children in the UK.
"These problems can have a big impact on a person’s quality of life and can be difficult to talk about.
"The Poo Racer game has been developed to educate children about how to prevent bowel problems through healthy lifestyle choices but also to make it easier to talk about and seek treatment for bowel problems that may occur for other reasons.”