GMB : Adela Roberts discusses her bowel cancer diagnosis
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Considered to be one of the “most common” cancer types, bowel cancer affects almost 43,000 people in the UK each year. Fortunately, picking up the condition early can mean that treatment will be able to cure it and even stop it from coming back. Here are the warning signs to help you spot it.
The bowel is the part of your digestive system which has a role in breaking down food and helping it move along out of your body.
Because of the location of this organ, thy symptoms can crop up when you visit the loo.
What’s more, colon cancer is “highly treatable and often curable” when localised to the bowel, according to the National Cancer Institute.
But the tricky part about warning signs is they tend to be subtle. So, without knowing what to look for, it might be difficult to spot them.
One of the main symptoms that appears in 90 percent of bowel cancer cases is hematochezia.
Hematochezia describes rectal bleeding, so blood passing through your bottom.
You may notice this sign on the stool or in the loo, MedlinePlus explains.
When it comes to the colour characteristic for hematochezia, the blood may be bright red.
The NHS also lists this symptom and states that blood in the poo might indicate bowel cancer as long as other symptoms of piles, also known as haemorrhoids, aren’t present.
Research published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology adds that hematochezia needs to be considered “carefully” due to its associations to cancer.
“Studies showed that seven to 10 percent of patients with chronic overt rectal bleeding did in fact have colorectal cancer,” the study concludes.
Although this warning sign is a symptom of bowel cancer, there are also other symptoms to help you spot this diagnosis.
According to the NHS, other bowel cancer signs include:
- Persistent change in bowel habit (pooing more often, with looser, runnier poos)
- Tummy (abdominal) pain
- Abdominal discomfort
- Bloating always brought on by eating
- Unexplained weight loss.
The NHS recommends seeing a GP when you experience symptoms like these that last for three weeks or more.
While these symptoms can point to bowel cancer, most people struggling with these “do not have” this condition, according to the health service.
There are other health problems associated with these signs, ranging from piles to coeliac disease.
However, you should take these symptoms “more seriously” as you get older or when they are persisting.
From surgery to targeted therapies, there are various treatments available for bowel cancer.
The exact impact of the cancer on your everyday life will depend on the stage and the treatment you’re having.
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