Bowel cancer: Dr Philippa Kaye lists the symptoms

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Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers to be diagnosed in the UK. You should consider speaking to a doctor if you notice any of the warning signs while using the toilet.

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.

There are key symptoms everyone should be looking out for – but they might be easily missed.

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One of the most common symptoms of bowel cancer is finding blood in your stools.

You could have blood in your poo if it looks unusually red, or has a tar colour.

Some patients might also start going to the toilet more often than normal, or their stools could be looser.

Speak to a doctor as soon as possible if you’re worried about the signs of bowel cancer.

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

“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.

“Bright red blood may come from swollen blood vessels (haemorrhoids or piles) in your back passage – it may also be caused by bowel cancer.

“Dark red or black blood may come from your bowel or stomach. Tell your doctor about any bleeding so they can find out what is causing it.”

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Bowel cancer symptoms:

  • Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
  • A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
  • A pain or lump in your tummy

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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