Bowel cancer warning: How often do you go to the toilet? Signs of the disease in your poo

Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers to be diagnosed in the UK. You should consider speaking to a doctor if you start using the bathroom more often than you’re used to.

Bowel cancer is 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 they’re at risk.

That’s why it’s crucial that you always check your stools after using the toilet.

One of the most common symptoms of bowel cancer is passing more stools than normal.

READ MORE: Bowel cancer – gastrointestinal warning signs

Subtle changes to your bowel habit is a key warning sign of the disease, according to Bowel Cancer UK.

Some patients find that they pass more stools than what you’re used to.

There isn’t a ‘normal’ number of times to poo in a day. But there is a general range of passing three stools each day, to passing one stool every three days.

However, everybody is different, and it’s important to draw comparisons to what your personal bathroom routine usually looks like.

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“Bowel cancer is very treatable but the earlier it’s diagnosed, the easier it is to treat,” said the charity.

“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.

“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.”


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You should see your GP if your change in bowel habit persists for more than four weeks.

But just because you notice a subtle change to your bowel habit, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have bowel cancer.

The doctor will assess whether you may be at risk of the disease by asking about your symptoms, and whether you have a family history of bowel cancer.

Your GP could subsequently refer you to a specialist for further investigation.


  • Bowel cancer symptoms: The shape of your stools may signal the disease

You could lower your risk of bowel cancer by making some small diet or lifestyle changes.

Eating large amounts of red and processed meats have been linked with a higher likelihood of bowel cancer.

Smoking, drinking too much alcohol and obesity could also lead to the disease, the NHS warned.

More than 90 percent of all bowel cancer causes occur in people over the age of 50.

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