Bowel cancer specialist shares the signs that ‘something isn’t right’

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Cancer specialist James Kinross pointed out the potential indicators of a growing tumour in the bowel. Kinross advised to look out for “any significant change in your pooing habits, which can vary from person to person”. The bowel cancer expert elaborated on changes to look out for: “For example pooing more often than normal, or having looser, runnier stools.”

While these changes could be the result of stress or a change in diet, Kinross recommends “getting yourself checked if the problem persists”.

Another sign of bowel cancer to be alert to is any blood in your faeces.

“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,” said Kinross.

“Normally, your doctor will ask you to simply supply them with a stool sample.

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“And they will use a Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) to uncover any hidden blood in your stool.

“This will help them assess whether the problem is bowel cancer or another issue.”

Kinross added that abdominal pain “can also be a sign of bowel cancer”.

He cautioned: “Discomfort or bloating always brought on by eating – which can lead you to eat less, and in turn lose weight – is something that needs to be assessed by a medical professional.”

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There might also be a “lump in your stomach or back passage”, which could signify a “malignant growth”.

Kinross said: “With that in mind, you should always have any new lumps, or lumps which have increased in size, checked by your GP.”

While the tests for bowel cancer might be uncomfortable for some, Kinross shared his professional advice.

“Early detection is one of the best ways to increase your chances of surviving from bowel cancer,” he said.

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Kinross added: “And though talking about your poo – or bowel habits – may seem embarrassing, doctors are there to listen confidentially and without judgement.

“Talking to them will allow them to run the necessary tests and treat you as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

According to the leading charity Bowel Cancer UK, bowel cancer is the second biggest killer in the UK.

Each year, around 43,000 cases of bowel cancer are recorded in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Bowel cancer symptoms, as pointed out by the NHS:

  • Changes in your poo, such as having softer poo, diarrhoea or constipation that is not usual for you
  • Needing to poo more or less often than usual for you
  • Blood in your poo, which may look red or black
  • Bleeding from your bottom
  • Often feeling like you need to poo, even if you’ve just been to the toilet
  • Tummy pain
  • Bloating
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Feeling very tired for no reason.

It’s advisable to book a doctor’s appointment if you identify with any of these symptoms that linger for three weeks or more.

“Having the symptoms does not definitely mean you have bowel cancer, but it’s important to get checked by a GP,” the health body assures.

Colorectal surgeon James Kinross is based at King Edward VII.

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