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Six red flag symptoms of bowel cancer that could save your life

Six red flag symptoms of bowel cancer that could save your life...Continue The Full Reading.

Bowel cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the UK. With 42,000 new bowel cancer diagnoses made each year, experts say it’s crucial that we familiarise ourselves with our bowel movements so it can be caught early.

Early detection and treatment can significantly improve outcomes, and though talking about your poo – or bowel habits – may seem embarrassing, doctors are there to listen confidentially and without judgement. Doctors may also recommend regular colonoscopies particularly if you’re over 50 or have a family history of the disease.

James Kinross, Colorectal Surgeon at independent charitable hospital King Edward VII’s Hospital, shares six symptoms which may signal bowel cancer.

Know when you go

One potential indicator of bowel cancer is any significant change in your pooing habits, which can vary from person to person. For example, pooing more often than normal, or having looser, runnier stools. Bowel movements may also become narrower than usual. Oftentimes these changes will be related to an external factor such as stress, eating more fibre or a change in diet, but it’s worth getting yourself checked if the problem persists.

Blood in stools

If you’re noticing blood in your stools, and you don’t suffer from haemorrhoids, it may be a warning sign that something isn’t quite right. Normally your doctor will ask you to supply them with a stool sample, and they will use a Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) to uncover any hidden blood in your stool. This will help them assess whether they should investigate potential bowel cancer, or another issue.

Abdominal pain

Persistent abdominal pain, cramps, or discomfort, particularly if it is accompanied by bloating, may be a sign of bowel cancer. However, many conditions can cause abdominal pain, so further investigation is needed for an accurate diagnosis.

Unexplained Weight Loss

Losing weight unintentionally, without changes in diet or exercise habits, could be a sign of various underlying health issues, including bowel cancer.

Pain or lump

You may have a pain or lump in your stomach or back passage. Though this is likely to be benign, it may indicate a malignant growth. With that in mind, you should always have any new lumps, or lumps which have increased in size, checked by your GP.

Fatigue or Weakness

Persistent fatigue or weakness that doesn’t improve with rest could be a symptom of bowel cancer, especially if it’s accompanied by other symptoms such as abdominal pain or unexplained weight loss.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, especially if they persist or worsen over time, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation and diagnosis.

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