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Be Bowel Aware

Despite it being the fourth most common cancer in the UK, nearly four in ten people can't name a single symptom of bowel cancer. The earlier bowel cancer is spotted, the more treatable it's likely to be.

The 5 key symptoms of bowel cancer are:  

  1. Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo

  2. A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit 

  3. Unexplained weight loss

  4. Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason 

  5. A pain or lump in your tummy

However, these symptoms are very common and most people with them do not have bowel cancer. The symptoms of bowel cancer can be subtle and don’t necessarily make you feel ill. These symptoms are more important as people get older - almost nine out of ten people diagnosed with bowel cancer are over the age of 60.

The risk of bowel cancer can increase if:

  • you are aged 60 or over

  • are overweight or obese

  • have an inactive lifestyle

  • have a high alcohol intake and smoke

  • have a diet high in processed mats and low in fibre

  • have a family history of the condition

Bowel screening involves taking a simple test at home every 2 years. The test looks for hidden blood in your poo, as this could mean a higher chance of bowel cancer.

If you are concerned with any of these symptoms it is best to seek medical advice from your GP who will discuss any necessary tests. Knowing the signs can offer early diagnosis - awareness can ultimately save more lives. 

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