IF it’s caught early, bowel cancer is very treatable, and has a good survival rate.Those diagnosed at stage one – the earliest stage – have a 97 per cent chance of surviving for five years or more.
That plummets to just seven per cent if you’re diagnosed at stage four, when the cancer has spread.
A key to early diagnosis is knowing the signs to watch out for.
The red-flag signs that mean you could have bowel cancer are:
bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
a persistant and unexplained change in your bowel habits
unexplained weight loss
extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
a pain or lump in your tummy
Most people with these symptoms won’t have bowel cancer, BUT if you have one or more of these signs it’s vital to see your GP to get checked over.
In some cases, a tumour in the bowel can cause an obstruction, blocking digestive waste from passing through the bowel.
Symptoms of a bowel obstruction can include:
intermittent, and occasionally severe, abdominal pain – this is always provoked by eating
unintentional weight loss – with persistent abdominal pain
constant swelling of the tummy – with abdominal pain
vomiting – with constant abdominal swelling
A bowel obstruction is a medical emergency. If you suspect your bowel is obstructed, you should see your GP quickly.
If this isn’t possible, go to A&E.