One particular sign of bowel cancer involves a certain sensation on the loo. The next time you go for a number two, if you feel the need to strain – after you’ve been – it could be a symptom of the condition. Feeling as though you haven’t fully emptied your bowels, even after going, is one sign of bowel cancer, according to Cancer Research UK. It could be that the growing tumour is causing this straining feeling on the toilet.
Another sign of bowel cancer – in both men and women – is bleeding from the rectum, meaning you’ll see blood when you wipe your behind.
Any blood in the faeces could also be a telling sign, as could a change in your normal bowel habits.
This could include pooing more often, having diarrhoea or constipation – or alternating between the two.
The cancerous lump in the bowel might be felt by a doctor who slips gloved fingers into the anus.
Another way the lump might be felt is on the abdomen, more commonly found on the right side.
Other symptoms of bowel cancer include: losing weight, pain in the abdomen or rear end, tiredness and breathlessness.
If you notice any of these symptoms, Cancer Research UK urges you to book an appointment with your GP.
It might not be cancer, it could be a number of other health conditions, but it’s best to get it checked out.
Who is more at risk of bowel cancer?
Eating processed and red meats have been shown to increase the risk of bowel cancer.
- Chicken nuggets
“It might help to swap red meat for chicken or fish. Or use beans and pulses in meals instead of meat,” advised Cancer Research UK.
Moreover, a diet lacking fibre can be even more risky than eating processed and red meat.
Eating too little fibre accounts for around 30 in 100 cases of bowel cancer, whereas eating red meat is estimated to cause 13 out of 100 cases.
Boost fibre content by eating:
- Brown rice, brown pasta, brown bread
- Wholegrain breakfast cereals
- Fruits and vegetables, such as peas and raspberries
Another risk factor is obesity, accounting for 11 out of 100 cases of bowel cancer; obesity is classified as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more.
Smoking tobacco is also another risk factor for developing bowel cancer during your lifetime.
Alcohol consumption, older age (especially over the age of 75), and a previous bowel cancer increases the risk.
Family history of the disease can also increase your risk of bowel cancer.
Scientists are currently researching why diabetes has been seen to increase the risk of the disease.
Furthermore, benign polys in the bowel, gallstones, and an infection called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) makes bowel cancer more likely.