Four ‘essential signs’ when you go to the toilet that may indicate bowel cancer

Bowel cancer: Dr Philippa Kaye lists the symptoms

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, but the second most deadly.

It accounts for more than 16,000 deaths every year, out of around 43,000 new diagnoses.

This can be due to late detection of the disease as it doesn’t always cause symptoms.

One expert spoke with to explain more.

Michelle Geraghty-Corns, founder of EternalBeing, explained: “This cancer typically has fewer symptoms during the early stages of the disease so it can be harder to spot.

READ MORE Five warning signs of cancer in your poo – ‘Book an appointment with your GP’

“Unfortunately, this means we often see patients being diagnosed later than we would want.”

“Bowel cancer is most curable and treatable at the early stages, so it is crucial to get checked if you do spot any unusual signs in your bowel movements.”

She warned that some symptoms will appear when you go to the toilet.

These include:

  • Changes in your poo – this could be experiencing diarrhoea, constipation or softer poo
  • Experiencing more frequent bowel movements
  • Blood in your stools
  • Bleeding from your bottom.

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She said: “There are some essential signs to look out for regarding bowel cancer.

“These include noticing blood in your stool, changes in your bowel habits, unexplained weight loss, and abdominal pain.

“If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important you see a GP urgently for further investigation.

“The GP will normally perform a digital rectal examination which takes less than one minute, and ask for a stool sample which will be examined for traces of blood.”

Cancer Research UK explains what blood in your poo could look like if caused by bowel cancer.

It says: “Most often, blood in the stool is from piles (haemorrhoids), especially if it is bright red, fresh blood.

“Piles are like swollen veins in the back passage.

“These veins are fragile and can easily get damaged when you have a poo, causing a little bleed.

“Blood from higher up in the bowel doesn’t look bright red.

“It goes dark red or black and can make your poo look like tar. This type of bleeding can be a sign of cancer higher up the bowel.

“Or it could be from a bleeding stomach ulcer for example.”

According to Ms Geraghty-Corns, other signs of bowel cancer include:

  • Bloating
  • Feeling tired or fatigued.

If you experience any symptoms of bowel cancer you should speak to your GP.

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