Cancer of Colon, Rectum or Bowel 

What is it? 

Colorectal cancer (cancer of the large bowel) is the third communist cancer in men and the 2nd most common cancer in women in the United Kingdom. Bowel cancer can occur anywhere in the colon or rectum. If diagnosed early colorectal cancer is more successfully treated. Symptoms to look out for includes, blood or mucus in the stool, new onset diarrhoea or constipation lasting for 2 weeks or more. The feeling of urge to go to the toilet even after having empted the bowel. Pain and discomfort around stomach area, weight loss and fatigue. The above symptoms are usually associated with more common but less serious condition, but nevertheless should not be ignored and an earlier visit to your GP is advisable. 

What can you do to reduce the risk of colon cancer ?

Rightly said that prevention is better than cure. Having a lifestyle and including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and foods with high fibre contents such as weetabix, brown rice, nuts and beans does help reduce risk of bowel cancer. Regular exercise as well as weight maintenance are very important as recent evidence suggest that obesity is a recognised risk factor in bowel cancer.


Who is at an increased risk of contracting colorectal cancer? 

There is an increased risk if there is family history or colorectal cancer or polyp, particularly at young age, however there are tests available to screen for this disease. 

Faecal blood test - This test involves smearing a stool sample of a special card that is then sent off to laboratory or analysis, but if faecal blood is positive (confirms the presence of blood cell in the stool), then a colonoscopy is planned (the large bowel is examined with a telescope). See underwater colonoscopy page for further information.