Anyone can get bowel cancer. And bowel cancer can kill. That’s why it’s important you know the symptoms.
What is bowel cancer? Cancer develops when cells (tiny parts of the body) grow strangely/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 (depending on where the cancer starts).
If you notice the symptoms of bowel cancer early, you have a good chance of recovery.
- 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.
If you are worried or think you have bowel cancer symptoms, it is important you visit your doctor
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.
High risk – who has a higher risk?
- People with Chron’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis
- People with relatives (mother, father, brother, sister etc) who have had bowel cancer
- People over 65