A change in bowel habit or blood in the bowel movement
Possible signs of bowel cancer include a change in bowel habit or blood in the bowel movement.
In its early stages, bowel cancer often has no symptoms. Some people, however, may experience the symptoms listed below.
Not everyone who experiences these symptoms has bowel cancer. Other medical conditions, some foods or medicines can also cause these changes.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms for more than two weeks, don't delay in talking to your doctor about them.
Possible signs and symptoms of bowel cancer can include:
- A change in bowel habit - a recent, persistent change in bowel habit such as looser, more diarrhoea-like bowel movements, constipation, or smaller more frequent bowel movements (i.e. going to the toilet more often, or trying to go - irregularity in someone whose bowel movements have previously been regular)
- A change in appearance of bowel movements - for example, narrower stools than usual or mucus in stools
- Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding - bright red or very dark
- Frequent gas pain, cramps or a feeling of fullness or bloating in the bowel or rectum
- A feeling that the bowel has not emptied completely after a bowel movement
- Unexplained anaemia (a low red blood count) causing tiredness, weakness or weight loss
- Rectal or anal pain or a lump in the rectum or anus
- Abdominal pain or swelling or a lump or mass in your tummy
However old you are, you should never be told by your doctor that you are too young to have bowel cancer.
While bowel cancer is more common in people aged 50 and over, it increasingly affects people of all ages.
Ask your doctor to be referred to further investigations.