What is Bowel Cancer?
Bowel cancer usually affects the large bowel (colon) or the back passage (rectum) and occurs when the cells change and grow in an abnormal way. This can lead to a lump or ulcer developing which could cause bleeding from the bottom or a change in bowel function.
Bowel cancer affects both men and women.
What you may notice (symptoms):
- A persistent change in bowel habit which lasts for a few weeks.
- Looser, diarrhoea-like motions.
- Trying to go or going to the loo several more times a day than normal.
- Bleeding from your bottom.
- A lump in your tummy (felt by your doctor).
- Unexplained anaemia (found by your doctor).
- Persistent pain in your tummy which has come on recently for the first time.
- Unexplained weight loss.
Most of these symptoms will NOT be bowel cancer.
Early detection saves lives
If you have symptoms or concerns make an appointment to see your doctor and don't be embarrassed to discuss your bowels or bowel habits.
If you are invited for routine bowel screening make sure you go.
What can increase your risk?
If one or more close relatives developed bowel cancer at an early age you should seek advice from your doctor.
What can decrease your risk?
- Eat less red meat (less than 500g cooked weight per week) and avoid processed meat such as bacon, ham, salami or corned beef altogether.
- Eat lots of brightly coloured vegetables and fruits, at least 5 portions every day.
- Eat lots of fibre, choose wholemeal varieties of foods such as wholemeal bread, rice and pasta.
- Be active: aim to do 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity every day.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
For more information visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/cancer-of-the-colon-rectum-or-bowel