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Bowel Cancer

Bowel cancer is a general term for cancer that begins in the large bowel. Depending on where the cancer starts, bowel cancer is sometimes called colon or rectal cancer.

Symptoms:

Early bowel cancer may have no symptoms and some symptoms of later bowel cancer can also occur in people with less serious medical problems such as Piles.

Initial Symptoms:

  • Blood in your stools or bleeding from the rectum
  • A change to your normal bowel habits such as diarrhea, constipation or passing stools more that usual
  • Abdominal pain
  • Unexplained weight loss

As bowel cancer progresses it can sometimes cause bleeding inside the bowel and can lead to your body not having enough red blood cells. This is known as anaemia, symptoms include –

  • Fatigue
  • Breathlessness

Causes:

Cancer occurs when the cells in a certain area of your body divide and multiply too rapidly. This produces a lump of tissue known as a tumour.

Exactly what causes cancer to develop inside the bowel is still unknown. Although, research has shown several factors may make you more likely to develop it.

  • Smoking – People who smoke cigarettes are 25% more likely to develop bowel cancer.
  • Alcohol – Even small amounts of alcohol can put you at a higher risk of getting bowel cancer.
  • Family History – Bowel cancer can run in families, around 20% of people develop bowel cancer have a close relative (mother, father, brother or sister) or a second degree relative (grandparents, uncle or aunt) who have also had bowel cancer.

Treatment:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Biological Therapy

Prevention:

There are several ways to reduce your risk of developing bowel cancer – 

  • Diet – Have a low-fat, high fibre diet that includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grains can help reduce your risk of getting bowel cancer.
  • Exercise – There is strong evidence to suggest regular exercise can lower the risk of developing bowel and other cancers.
  • Healthy Weight – Try to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Smoking – Giving up will reduce your risk of developing bowel and other cancers.