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What are the symptoms of bowel cancer?

Over 42,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year in the UK[1]. How do you know if you’ve got bowel cancer? In this blog, the second in our series for Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, we explore the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer.

There are many symptoms of bowel cancer to look out for. These include:

  • Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
  • A persistent change in bowel habit
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme tiredness for no particular reason
  • A pain or lump in your tummy
  • A feeling that you haven’t emptied your back passage fully after going to the toilet

These same symptoms can also be caused by other, less serious health problems, such as haemorrhoids (piles), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or Crohn’s disease. However, if you notice any of these symptoms or changes, it’s important to speak to your GP to get checked out. Doctors are used to seeing lots of people with bowel problems so there’s no need to be embarrassed.

Sometimes, a tumour can block the bowel, causing a bowel obstruction. This can lead to the following symptoms:

  • Strong pains in the stomach area
  • Feeling bloated
  • Constipation and being unable to pass wind
  • Feeling or being sick

A bowel obstruction is a medical emergency – if you think you have a blocked bowel, you should see your GP straight away or go to A&E at your nearest hospital.

Read more about the symptoms about bowel cancer here, or visit our FAQs page for answers to common questions about bowel cancer.


Image courtesy Bowel Cancer UK 

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