Recognising bowel cancer symptoms and acting quickly is important for early detection of the disease.
Like Jodi, many people do not experience any bowel cancer symptoms until the cancer has become more advanced or spreads to other parts of the body. In fact, bowel cancer can be present for many years before showing any symptoms.
Many people will also experience some of these symptoms during their lives but they will be associated with bowel problems like irritable bowel syndrome or haemorrhoids, not bowel cancer.
Regardless of your age, speak to your GP immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Bleeding from your bottom or blood in your bowel movements, even if only occasional
- A change in bowel habits for more than two weeks, such as going to the toilet more frequently, diarrhoea-like motions, or feeling that the bowel does not completely empty
- Bowel movements that are narrower than usual
- Frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness or cramps
- Persistent and severe abdominal pain, which has come on recently for the first time
- A lump in your stomach or rectum
- Unexplained feelings of tiredness, breathlessness or a lack of energy
- Unexplained weight loss or vomiting
If you are concerned, monitor your bowels for a few weeks and if symptoms persist, speak to your GP. Most important of all is to have your symptoms checked. It might just save your life.