Many people may wipe their bottom, put the tissue straight into the bog and flush, without ever looking at the colour stained on the toilet paper. Averting the eyes from what comes out from behind could be a vital mistake. If you do look, however, and you notice red marks, it is likely you have anal bleeding.
Another possible sign of bowel cancer is experiencing unexplained bowel changes.
To illustrate, poo may be more loose than usual, which will mean it will colour the water in the toilet bowl.
Look out for brown water before you flush, and whether your faeces are not stuck together.
Other bowel habit changes to take note of include:
- Needing to poo more often than normal
- Feeling as though you are not able to fully empty your bowels
- Feeling as though you’re not going to the toilet often enough.
“Tell your GP if you have noticed any persistent and unexplained changes in your bowel habit,” Bowel Cancer UK noted.
Other possible indications of a growing tumour include unexplained weight loss, fatigue, and a painful lump in the stomach area.
For people who would like to monitor any changes they might be experiencing, Bowel Cancer UK’s symptom diary could help.
The downloadable symptom diary is designed to be filled out by you, so that you can then take it to your doctor.
How likely is it that I have bowel cancer?
Factors that increase your risk of bowel cancer include older age, a family history of the disease, and certain health conditions.
To elaborate, anybody aged 50 or older are at increased risk of the disease.
Furthermore, anyone who has a history of non-cancerous growths (i.e. polyps) in the bowel are also at risk.
As are people who have type 2 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis.
Is there anything that can be done to reduce my risk?
Yes, thankfully, there are certain things you can do to help minimise your risk of bowel cancer.
For example, the charity advises you to:
- Avoid processed meat and limit red meat
- Eat plenty of fibre from whole grains, pulses, veg and fruit
- Be a healthy body weight.
“For cancer prevention, it’s best not to drink alcohol at all,” Bowel Cancer UK added.
Bowel cancer risk also increases with the number of cigarettes smoked per day.