Cancer can take many forms, all of which result from a rapid proliferation of harmed cells. There are a host of symptoms associated with the disease, but not all the warning signs are clear-cut. Generally, symptoms will be concentrated in the organs that are diseased. When cancer affects the bowel, however, most individuals can expect two changes when going to do the toilet.
It is commonplace for cancer to occur in the colon and rectum, but unfortunately, neither produce obvious symptoms in the initial stages.
Picking up the disease early is critical for receiving curative treatment, however.
This is because the disease often spreads to other parts of the body, making it difficult to contain.
Cancer Research UK explains that: “Advanced bowel cancer is cancer that started in either the back passage (rectum) or large bowel (colon and has spread to another part of the body.
READ MORE: Cancer research UK struck by the pandemic – Plea for life-saving funding
“The symptoms of advanced bowel cancer can include the symptoms for bowel cancer that hasn’t spread.
“Other symptoms depend on which part of the body cancer has spread to.”
General symptoms associated with bowel cancer include fatigue, loss of appetite, and decreased energy levels.
According to the NHS, more than 90 percent of people with bowel cancer have one of the following combinations of symptoms that affect their bowels.
The health body explains that they may experience “a persistent change in bowel habit – pooing more often with loose, runnier poo and sometimes tummy (abdominal) pain”.
Alternatively, they may notice “blood in the poo without other symptoms of piles (haemorrhoids) – this makes it unlikely the cause is haemorrhoids”.
Occasionally, symptoms may include a lump that the doctor can feel in the back passage or stomach, more commonly on the right side, according to Cancer Research UK.
Staying slim and active is essential because obesity increases the risk of dying from cancer by 1.5 times.
Certain foods, such as processed, smoked meals, should also be avoided because they contain chemicals called nitrosamines.
Some research suggests that taking a low dose of aspirin a day may lower the risk of bowel cancer after five years.
But potential risks of this may outweigh the benefits, so a health physician should always be consulted first.