A recent, persistent change in bowel habit or blood in the stool
Common symptoms of bowel cancer are:
- A recent, persistent change in bowel habit1
- A change in appearance of bowel movements2
- Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding3
- Frequent gas pain, cramps4
- A feeling that the bowel has not emptied completely5
- Unexplained anaemia6
- Rectal/anal pain or a lump in the rectum/anus
- Abdominal pain or swelling7
In its early stages, bowel cancer often has no symptoms. Some people, however, may experience the symptoms listed above.
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 above symptoms for more than two weeks, don't delay in talking to your doctor about them. Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding should never be ignored.
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.
- 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)
- for example, narrower stools than usual or mucus in stools
- bright red or very dark should never be ignored
- a feeling of fullness or bloating in the bowel or rectum
- bowel has not emptied completely after a bowel movement
- (a low red blood count) causing tiredness, weakness or weight loss
- or a lump or mass in your tummy