The charity Beating Bowel Cancer have a bowel cancer awareness day called Lift The Lid on April 16th. That’s today, so we decided to make a blog post to tell you what bowel cancer is.
What is bowel cancer? Cancer develops when tiny parts of the body called cells grow abnormally. When these abnormal cells grow in the body’s colon or rectum, it is called bowel cancer. Sometimes it is called colorectal cancer or colon cancer.
Watch BSL videos about Bowel Cancer on the NHS website.
- You go to the toilet more than normal.
- You have regular diarrhea.
- You have constipation (your poo won’t come out when you go to the toilet).
- You go to the toilet for a poo but still feel like there’s poo left inside you, or you go to the toilet then feel very empty.
- There’s blood in your poo, or blood coming out of your bottom.
- You have tummy pain.
- You can feel a lump in your tummy.
- You feel tired, dizzy or breathless.
- You are losing weight when you’re not trying to lose weight.
How to reduce your risk of bowel cancer:
- Don’t drink too much alcohol. Women should have a maximum of 1 small glass of alcohol a day. Men should have a maximum of 2 small glasses a day (or 1 pint).
- Exercise regularly and have a healthy weight.
- Don’t smoke.
- Eat less than 500g of cooked red meat a week. Red meat is beef, lamb, pork, veal, venison and goat.
- Avoid eating bacon, ham and salami.
- Eat more fruit, vegetables and foods that have lots of fibre in them, for example oats, wholegrain bread and pasta.
- Drink more water.
Sometimes you can’t reduce your risk of bowel cancer:
- If you have an illness, Chron’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis, you have a higher risk of getting bowel cancer.
- If people in your family have had bowel cancer, you are at higher risk of getting it.
- 72% of people diagnosed with bowel cancer are over the age of 65.
If you are worried or think you have bowel cancer symptoms, it is important you visit your doctor.