According to the NHS, more than one in three people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime. There are more than 200 different types of cancer, each with different symptoms, although some symptoms can overlap. In the UK, the most common types of cancer are breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer and bowel cancer. Some symptoms of these cancers may seem obvious, such as a lump in your breast, but other symptoms are much more subtle, such as persistent heartburn.
There are three particular signs everyone should look out for when they go to the toilet, as while they may seem like simple tummy problems, they could be a sign of bowel cancer.
A persistent change in bowel habits
Changes in bowel habits to look out for include needing to go more often, looser stools and tummy pain when going to the toilet.
Changes in bowel habits are more likely to be a sign of IBS or a similar less serious bowel problem, but if they persist it’s vital to see a GP.
Blood in the stools
Blood in the stools are often caused by haemorrhoids, otherwise known as piles, but if no other piles symptoms are present, it could signify cancer.
Other symptoms of piles include an itchy bottom, soreness, redness and swelling around the anus, and a lump hanging down outside of the anus.
Abdominal pain or bloating
Stomach pain, discomfort or bloating associated with bowel cancer is always brought on by eating, and sometimes results in weight loss.
Bloating and stomach pain can be caused by overeating or eating food which is hard to digest, but if it is persistent, see a GP.
Constipation, where you pass harder stools and struggle to go to the toilet easily, is rarely caused by bowel cancer, advises the NHS.
The symptoms of bowel cancer don’t necessarily make you feel ill, which is why they can easily be missed.
Most people with the above symptoms won’t have bowel cancer, but it’s best to get them checked out in case.
According to the NHS, more than 90 per cent of people with bowel cancer have one of the three main symptoms.
“If you have one or more of the symptoms of bowel cancer, and they persist for more than four weeks, you should see your GP,” said the NHS.
“Make sure you see your doctor if your symptoms persist or keep coming back after stopping treatment, regardless of their severity or your age.”
Published at Thu, 07 Feb 2019 09:18:00 +0000