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1- What is bowel cancer?

Bowel cancer can occur in any part of the colon and rectum that forms the large intestine or bowel. Left untreated, bowel cancer will increase in size and may cause a blockage in the bowel or may bleed.

It is thought that most bowel cancers start as benign (non-cancerous) innocent growths on the wall of the bowel. These are called polyps. Polyps are very common as we get older, and most polyps do not develop into cancer. However if potentially cancerous polyps can be found at an early stage they can be removed painlessly without the need for an operation.

2- What are the symptons ?

• Bleeding from the bottom without obvious reason, or blood in your poo

• A persistent change in bowel habit to looser or more frequent bowel motions

• A lump in your tummy or tummy pain, especially if it's severe

3- How is bowel cancer treated?

The main treatment for bowel cancer is surgery. In some cases, chemotherapy or radiotherapy may be offered, but all cancers are different, and all people are different so treatment is tailored to individuals.

4- What could affect your risk?

AGE

Bowel cancer can affect men and women of all ages but is most common in the over 50’s.

DIET AND LIFESTYLE

Being physically inactive, being overweight, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, eating too much red or processed meat and not enough fruit and vegetables can increase the risk.

FAMILY HISTORY

5-10% of people may inherit faulty genes that could increase their risk of developing bowel cancer. If you have bowel cancer in your family talk to your GP. They can assess your family history, decide how strong it is and tell you if your risk might be significantly increased. If it is, they could arrange for you to have extra screening.  


For more information:

Mr Brightside Project: This charity was set up 3 years ago to help raise awareness of bowel cancer in all ages, male & female.
 
The Adam Stansfield Foundation: seeks to promote community participation in healthy recreation for the benefit of children and young people
 
The Bobby Moore Fund: Part of Cancer Research Uk, which is the leading researcher into bowel cancer