Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers to be diagnosed in the UK, according to the NHS. It’s a general term for any cancer that develops in the large bowel, and it may sometimes be known as colon or rectal cancer. The early warning signs of bowel cancer can be very subtle, and many people may not be aware that they’re at risk. One of the most common warning signs of bowel cancer can be spotted in your stool, it’s been revealed.
If you have any symptoms, don’t be embarrassed and don’t ignore them
Bowel Cancer UK
Having looser stools than normal could be a symptom of bowel cancer, warned charity Bowel Cancer UK.
A ‘loose stool’ describes any bowel movement that’s abnormally watery or soft.
If you’ve had loose stools for at least four weeks, it’s a good idea to speak to a doctor, added the NHS.
“Bowel cancer is very treatable but the earlier it is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat,” said Bowel Cancer UK.
“People whose cancer is diagnosed at an early stage have a much higher chance of successful treatment than those whose cancer has become more widespread.
“If you have any symptoms, don’t be embarrassed and don’t ignore them. Doctors are used to seeing lots of people with bowel problems.
“Tell your GP if you have noticed any persistent and unexplained changes in your bowel habit, especially if you also have bleeding from your back passage.
“You may have looser poo and you may need to poo more often than normal. Or you may feel as though you’re not going to the toilet often enough or you might not feel as though you’re not fully emptying your bowels.”
The ideal stool should look like a smooth, soft sausage. It could also be sausage-shaped with cracks in the surface.
But it’s also crucial to look out for stools with any signs of blood in them.
Blood from higher up in the bowel can turn dark red or black, and it may even make your poo look like tar. This is the type of bleeding that’s linked to bowel cancer.
Other bowel cancer symptoms include persistent tiredness, weight loss, or developing a painful lump in your stomach.
But, most people with these symptoms don’t have bowel cancer. They’re more likely to be caused by something less serious, including constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, or Crohn’s disease.
Around 90 per cent of all people diagnosed with bowel cancer are over 60 years old, said the NHS.
You could lower your chances of the disease by doing regular exercise, and eating a a diet that’s low in red or processed meats and high in fibre.
More than 40,000 new cases of bowel cancer are diagnosed in the UK every year.
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