Bowel cancer signs: Three changes in your normal toilet habits – ‘possible symptoms’
It is very important to get cancer spotted early, as this can help immensely. Indeed, Bowel Cancer UK says bowel cancer is treatable and curable “especially if diagnosed early”. Sadly, survival rates drop as the disease develops, so the charity says “early diagnosis really does save lives”. The number of people dying of bowel cancer has been falling since the 1970s, so early diagnosis and getting treatment is key.
Cancer Research UK outlines a number of potential signs, many of which may show up when you go to the toilet.
In both men and women, symptoms can include blood in your poo or a change in your normal bowel habit. These might be looser poo, pooing more often, or constipation.
It adds that signs include a lump that your doctor can feel in your back passage or tummy, or a feeling of needing to strain in your back passage, as if you need to poo, even after opening your bowels.
Bowel Cancer UK adds that you might feel as though you’re not fully emptying your bowels.
READ MORE: Stomach bloating: Strategies to reduce symptoms caused after eating – Dr Megan Rossi
Although blood in poo can be a sign of bowel cancer, it is often due to other causes.
Cancer Research says: “See your GP if you are worried about any symptoms that you think could be caused by cancer in the bowel.”
Indeed, many of these symptoms can be caused by other conditions, such as piles or inflammatory bowel disease.
Cancer Research says “your doctor won’t think you are wasting their time” and you should always tell your doctor about symptoms.
Bowel Cancer UK notes that over 42,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year in the UK.
It says that one in 15 men and one in 18 women will be diagnosed with bowel cancer during their lifetime.
The exact cause of bowel cancer is not known, but there are a number of things that can increase your risk.
The NHS says that smoking may increase your chances of getting bowel cancer, and that bowel cancer is more common in overweight or obese people.
The health body adds:”Some people also have an increased risk of bowel cancer because they’ve had another condition, such as extensive ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease in the colon for more than 10 years.”
To detect cases of bowel cancer, everyone aged 60 to 74 who is registered with a GP and lives in England should automatically be sent a bowel cancer screening home test kit every two years.
Bowel cancer can be treated using a combination of different treatments.
Each of the bowel cancer screening programmes in the UK use home tests called the Faecal Immunochemical Test, which looks for blood in poo.
Surgery is usually the main treatment for bowel cancer, and may be combined with chemotherapy or radiotherapy, according to the NHS.
It adds: “When deciding what treatment is best for you, your care team will consider the type and size of the cancer, your general health, whether the cancer has spread to other parts of your body, and how aggressive the cancer is.”
Bowel Cancer UK says: “Most people with bowel cancer are diagnosed when they are over the age of 50.”
But more than 2,500 people under 50 are diagnosed each year in the UK.
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