Symptoms of bowel cancer may sometimes present themselves in a very similar fashion to those associated with haemorrhoids. It is, therefore, extremely important to have any alerting symptoms checked out as soon as possible. Here, esteemed consultant colorectal surgeon, Mr Steve Pandey, outlines all of the warning signs of bowel cancer that one simply shouldn't ignore.
What are the signs of bowel cancer that you shouldn't ignore?
The first warning sign to watch out for is rectal bleeding. The most concering type of rectal bleeding is blood that is dark red in colour. Bleeding that lasts for more days than is considered normal should be reported. The next warning sign of bowel cancer that patients should watch out for is a change in bowel habit. A red flag is if they have to go to the bathroom more often than what they usually used to, or if patients notice that they go many times a day, and that the frequency is different, the consistency is different, and the bowel movement is loose.
Other red flags include bloody diarrhoea, passing bowel movements when you think you have just passed wind, a feeling that you need to go again as soon as you have finished in the bathroom, or intense urgency. Another cause for concern would be the other side of things, then, if patients who had no problems passing bowel movements before suddenly struggle to go and are constantly constipated.
Anaemia can present itself on the right-hand side of one's bowel, and is one of the most common presentations of bowel cancer on this side of one's bowel. Abdominal pain can also be a common symptom of bowel cancer, but is usually a late symptom. Vomiting, unexplained weight loss, and a lot of diarrhoea are also symptoms of bowel cancer.
What lifestyle changes can you make to lower the risk of bowel cancer?
There is no real link between lifestyle and bowel cancer. About five per cent of bowel cancer is caused by genetic factors. In terms of lifestyle, patients should prioritise a healthy lifestyle. Eating healthily, exercising regularly, avoiding red meat and alcohol, and drinking plenty of water are things that are all strongly recommended.
Why is it important to see a doctor early to discuss symptoms you may be having?
It is important because the majority of people who come to discuss symptoms with us will have a test that will show that is everything is fine and normal. Reassurance is a huge reason why it is important to discuss them. Also, it is very important to report symptoms, because the earlier we can diagnose the cancer, if they might have it, the better for the patient. The treatment, curative options, and long-term outlook are all better if bowel cancer is detected at the earliest stage possible.
If you are currently experiencing any of the symptoms outlined in the above article, make sure you book an appointment with Mr Steve Pandey today via his Top Doctors profile.