Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers to be diagnosed in the UK. You should consider speaking to a doctor if you find that your stools have changed colour, it’s been revealed.
Bowel cancer is a general term for any cancer that develops in the large bowel, and it may sometimes be known as colon or rectal cancer.
The early warning signs of bowel cancer can be very subtle, and many people may not be aware that they’re at risk.
That’s why it’s crucial that you always check your stools after using the toilet.
Any change to your usual toilet habit may be a sign of bowel cancer.
You may be at risk of the disease if your stools turn a dark red colour.
The colour change may be caused by bleeding, higher up in the bowel.
If you notice any kind of blood in your poo, you should speak to a doctor straight away.
It may not necessarily be caused by bowel cancer, but it’s still worth getting checking out by a doctor.
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“Bowel cancer is very treatable but the earlier it’s diagnosed, the easier it is to treat,” said charity Bowel Cancer UK.
“People whose cancer is diagnosed at an early stage have a much higher chance of successful treatment than those whose cancer has become more widespread.
“There are several possible causes of bleeding from your bottom or blood in your bowel movements [poo]. Bright red blood may come from swollen blood vessels [haemorrhoids or piles] in your back passage.
“It may also be caused by bowel cancer. Dark red or black blood may come from your bowel or stomach. Tell your doctor about any bleeding so they can find out what is causing it.”
It’s normal to occasionally have a small amount of blood in your stools, and it’s usually nothing to worry about.
It could be caused by a number of different conditions, including gastroenteritis or inflammatory bowel disease.
You should, however, speak to a doctor if your blood is black or dark red.
Call 999 straight away if you’re bleeding non-stop, or if there are large quantities of blood in the toilet bowl.
You could lower your risk of bowel cancer by making some small diet or lifestyle changes.
Eating large amounts of red and processed meats have been linked with a higher likelihood of bowel cancer.
Smoking, drinking too much alcohol and obesity could also lead to the disease, the NHS warned.
More than 90 percent of all bowel cancer causes occur in people over the age of 50.