What are the Symptoms of Bowel Cancer?

It’s Bowel Cancer Awareness month and we’re here to help everyone learn more about bowel health. Over 42,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year, making this the fourth most common type of cancer1. In this third blog of our four-part series, we’re looking at the most common symptoms of bowel cancer and when you should see your GP.

Common symptoms of bowel cancer include:

  • Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your stool
  • A persistent change in bowel habit
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme tiredness for no particular reason
  • A pain or lump in your tummy
  • A feeling that you haven’t emptied your back passage fully after going to the toilet

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However, if you notice any of these symptoms then it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have bowel cancer. Other health concerns such as haemorrhoids (piles), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or Crohn’s disease can also cause similar symptoms.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, or if you are concerned it’s important to speak to your GP. If it is cancer, a rapid diagnosis will make treatment more effective and drastically increase the chances of survival. Survival rates for bowel cancer have more than doubled in the past 40 years, with 9 in 10 people now surviving an early diagnosis of bowel cancer1.

Other symptoms of bowel cancer are more serious and arise when the tumour causes a blockage, known as a bowel obstruction. This can cause:

  • Strong pains in the stomach area
  • Feeling bloated
  • Constipation and being unable to pass wind
  • Feeling or being sick

A bowel obstruction is a medical emergency – if you think you may have a blocked bowel, you should see your GP straightaway or head directly to your nearest A&E department.

Visit Check4Cancer to find out more about the symptoms of bowel cancer, or read more about how you can get tested for bowel cancer today.