Bowel cancer is a full general term for cancer that begins inward the big bowel. Depending on where the cancer starts, bowel cancer is sometimes called colon or rectal cancer.

Bowel cancer is i of the most common types of cancer diagnosed inwards the United Kingdom. Most people diagnosed amongst it are over the historic period of threescore.

Symptoms of bowel cancer

The 3principal symptoms of bowel cancer are:

  • persistent blood in your poo – that happens for no obvious argue or is associated amongst a change inwards bowel habit
  • a persistent modify inward your bowel habit – which is unremarkably having to poo more than together with your poo may also go more runny
  • persistentlower abdominal (tummy) hurting, bloating or discomfort – that’s e’er caused by eating together with may live associated amongst loss of appetite or meaning unintentional weight loss

Most people amongst these symptoms do not have got bowel cancer. Other health problems tin movement similar symptoms.For illustration:

  • blood inwards the poo when associated with pain or soreness is more than frequently caused by piles (haemorrhoids)
  • a change inwards bowel habit or abdominal hurting is usually caused past something y’all’ve eaten
  • a modify inwards bowel habit to going less frequently, amongst harder poo, is non ordinarily caused by whatever serious status –it may live worth trying laxatives before seeing a GP

These symptoms should live taken more seriously equally y’all get older in addition to when they persist despite unproblematic treatments.

Read about the symptoms of bowel cancer

When to get medical advice

See a GP If you hold any of the symptoms of bowel cancer for 3 weeks or more than.

The GP may decide to:

  • examine your tummy too bottom to make certain y’all have no lumps
  • adapt for a elementary blood examine to cheque for Fedeficiency anaemia – this tin can exhibit whether in that location’s whatsoever haemorrhage from your bowel that y’all have non been aware of
  • suit for y’all to have got a uncomplicated essay in infirmary to brand sure there’s no serious effort of your symptoms

Make sure yous run across a GP if your symptoms persist or continue coming back afterward stopping treatment, regardless of their severity or your age. You’ll likely live referred to infirmary.

Read virtually diagnosing bowel cancer

Causes of bowel cancer

The exact effort of bowel cancer is not known, but at that place are a number of things that tin can increment your risk, including:

  • age – almost ix in 10 people alongside bowel cancer are aged sixty or over
  • diet – a diet high inward cherry or processed meats in addition to depression in fibre can increase your risk
  • weight – bowel cancer is more mutual inward overweight or obese people
  • practice – beingness inactive increases your risk of getting bowel cancer
  • alcohol – drinking alcohol might increase your risk of getting bowel cancer
  • smoking – smokingmay increase your chances of getting bowel cancer
  • family history – having a shut relative (mother or begetter, brother or sister) who developed bowel cancer nether the age of fifty puts yous at a greater lifetime risk of developing the status; screening is offered to people in this situation, too you should hash out this amongst a GP

Some people also hold an increased risk of bowel cancer because they’ve had anothercondition, such as extensive ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease inwards the colon for more than than 10 years.

Although there are some risks you cannot change, such every bit your historic period or family history, at that place are several ways y’all tin lower your chances of developing the condition.

Find outmore than virtually:

  • Red meat in addition to bowel cancer risk
  • Eating a salubrious balanced diet
  • Losing weight
  • Health and fitness
  • Stopping smoking
  • Tips on cutting downward on alcohol
  • Read more than well-nigh the causes of bowel cancer

Bowel cancer screening

To observe cases of bowel cancer sooner, everyone aged threescore to 74 who is registered amongst a GP as well as lives inwardEngland is automatically sent a bowel cancer screening domicile try kit every ii years.

If you lot’re 75 or over, you lot tin can inquire for a kit every ii years by phoning the costless bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 lx lx.

The programme also includes 56 twelvemonth olds.

For the screening prove, you role a habitation try out kit to collect a small sample of poo together with send it to a lab. This is checked for tiny amounts of blood.

Blood can live a sign of polyps or bowel cancer. Polyps are growths inwards the bowel that may plow into cancer over time.

Read nigh bowel cancer screening.

Treatment for bowel cancer

Bowel cancer tin live treated using a combination of different treatments, depending on where the cancer isinward your bowel and how far it has spread.

The master treatments are:

  • surgical procedure – the cancerous section of bowel is removed; it’s the most effective style of curing bowel cancer and inward many cases is all you lot need
  • chemotherapy – where medicine is used to kill cancer cells
  • radiotherapy – where radiation is used to kill cancer cells
  • targeted therapies – a newer grouping of medicines that increases the effectiveness of chemotherapy in addition to prevents the cancer spreading

As amongst most types of cancer, the take a chance of a consummate cure depends on how far it’s spread by the fourth dimension it’s diagnosed. If the cancer is confined to thebowel, surgery is usually able to completely take it.

Keyhole or robotic surgery is being used more than ofttimes, which allows operation to live performed amongst less hurting and a quicker recovery.

Read more well-nigh how bowel cancer is treated

Living alongside bowel cancer

Bowel cancer canbear upon your daily life inwards different ways, depending on what phase it’s at together with the handling you’re having.

How people get by with their diagnosis and handling varies from someone to mortal. There are several forms of support available if you lot need it:

  • talk to your friends and family – they tin be a powerful back up system
  • communicate alongside other people inward the same situation – for representative, through bowelcancer back up groups
  • discovery out as much equally possible about your condition
  • do not try to do too much or overexert yourself
  • make fourth dimension for yourself

You may also want advice on recovering from surgical operation, including diet too living amongst a stoma, in addition to any financial concerns you lot have got.

If you’re told in that location’s null more that tin can live done to care foryour bowel cancer, in that location’s nonetheless back up available. This is known as stop of life care.

Read well-nigh living amongst bowel cancer

Page concluding reviewed: 08 November 2021
Next review due: 04 Nov 2022