Bowel cancer is a general term for cancer that begins in the large bowel. Depending on where the cancer starts, bowel cancer is sometimes called colon or rectal cancer. According to the NHS, the symptoms of bowel cancer can be subtle and do not necessarily make you feel ill.
According to BMI Healthcare, pain or lumps felt in your tummy can signal the deadly disease.
Other warning signs include:
- Bleeding from your anus and/or blood in your poo
- Changes in your bowel movements that last for three weeks or more, especially if there is loose or runny poo
- Unexplained weight loss or extreme tiredness.
If you are experiencing any one of the above symptoms, “you should arrange to see your GP as soon as possible”, advises BMI Healthcare.
“If the symptoms do indicate bowel cancer, remember that early detection can make a big difference.”
“The tests can be uncomfortable, and many people find an examination of their bottom a bit embarrassing, but they take less than a minute.”
Am I at risk?
The exact cause of bowel cancer is unknown. However, research has shown several factors may make you more likely to develop it.
Your risk of developing bowel (colon and rectal) cancer depends on many things including age, genetics and lifestyle factors.
Anything that can increase your risk of cancer is called a risk factor.
Processed meat is any meat that has been treated to preserve it and/or add flavour – for example, bacon, salami, sausages, canned meat, or chicken nuggets.
The government recommends that people eating more than 90g of red and processed meat a day should reduce it to 70g or less.
Eating lots of fibre reduces your risk of bowel cancer,” adds Cancer Research UK.
Other risk factors include:
- Being overweight and obese
- Smoking tobacco