About Bowel Cancer
Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK, and the second biggest cancer killer after lung cancer.
Around one in eighteen of us will get bowel cancer at some point in our lives; the earlier that cancer is detected,
the more effective the treatment – so greater awareness, screening and detection all play a vital part in achieving
Bowel cancer is sometimes linked to a diet that is high in red meat (in particular processed meats such as ham, sausages etc) and low in naturally occurring roughage. So to maintain a healthy gut and increase your chances of avoiding bowel cancer you should restrict your intake of red meat and eat plenty of whole cereals (brown bread, brown rice etc), fresh fruit and vegetables.
Sometimes bowel cancer is caused by the genes you inherit, so if someone in your immediate family has had bowel cancer –particularly if it occurred at a young age – then you should be screened regularly. To find out more about taking part in the GUTS screening programme click here . Bowel cancer is most likely to occur when people are in their sixties, so some time after your 60th birthday you will be invited to take part in the national screening programme. It is estimated that if just 60% of those invited took part, then over a 10-year period the bowel cancer death rate would be cut by around 20%. Screening will detect polyps that can potentially develop into cancer, which can be easily removed with a non-surgical procedure, as well as actual cancers.
Bowel cancer symptoms
Symptoms of bowel cancer can be vague but generally, if you experience a change in bowel habit (constipation or diarrhoea)
that persists for longer than six weeks, you should see your GP in order get it checked out. Other symptoms can include a
bloated feeling, abdominal pain, bleeding from your back passage, unexplained weight loss and tiredness or breathlessness
due to anaemia.
If you’re unsure about your symptoms, the NHS bowel cancer symptom checker might be helpful.
For more details on signs, symptoms and treatment click here.