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Signs and symptoms of bowel cancer

Learn to identify early indicators of bowel cancer with our guide. Understand subtle and commonly overlooked symptoms to advocate effectively for your health in a landscape where young-onset cases are becoming more prevalent.

  • Persistent Changes in Bowel Habits: This can include more frequent bowel movements, diarrhoea, constipation, or a change in the consistency of your stool.
  • Blood in the Stool: Noticing bright red or very dark blood in your stool is a common sign of bowel cancer.
  • Abdominal Pain: Persistent abdominal pain or discomfort, which may be accompanied by bloating or cramping.
  • Unexplained Weight Loss: Losing weight without trying can be a sign of many conditions, including bowel cancer.
  • Fatigue: Feeling unusually tired or weak can occur if the cancer causes a loss of blood, leading to anaemia.
  • Feeling that the Bowel Does Not Empty Completely: Experiencing a sensation as if the bowel doesn’t empty fully after a bowel movement.
  • Unexplained Iron Deficiency in Men or in Women after Menopause: This can be a sign of hidden bleeding from the bowel, which can lead to anaemia.

While these are the accepted symptoms to be on the look out for one of the most important things to know is that in many cases, especially in young onset bowel cancer, people who are diagnosed had no symptoms whatsoever, or no specific "bowel"-type symptoms.

There is a disconnect between the statistics, which says that young-onset bowel cancer is on the rise, and some medical practitioners approach to screening for bowel cancers for patients under 50. That's why we're such firm believers in self advocacy.

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