Bowel cancer is a general term for cancerous cells that multiply uncontrollably in the large bowel (colon and rectum). If it’s detected early enough, treatment can cure bowel cancer and stop it coming back. Unfortunately, because the symptoms of bowel cancer can be subtle and doesn’t necessarily make one feel ill, it is not usually picked up until it has advanced. Noticing odd colours in the toilet bowl could be an indication and a possible warning, however.
Cancer Research listed other symptoms of bowel cancer to look out for which include:
- Bleeding from the back passage (rectum) or blood in your poo
- A change in your normal bowel habit, such as looser poo, pooping more often or constipation
- A lump that your doctor can feel in your back passage or tummy (abdomen), more commonly on the right side
- A feeling of needing to strain in your back passage (as if you need to poo), even after opening your bowels
- Losing weight
- Pain in your abdomen or back passage
- Tiredness and breathlessness caused by a lower-than-normal level of red blood cells (anaemia).
You should see your GP if your change in bowel habit persists for more than four weeks.
But just because you notice a subtle change to your bowel habit, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have bowel cancer.
The doctor will assess whether you may be at risk of the disease by asking about your symptoms, and whether you have a family history of bowel cancer.
Your GP could subsequently refer you to a specialist for further investigation.