3 Important Signs Of Bowel Cancer You Should Know About
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As Dame Deborah James tragically passed away.
In sad news today, Dame Deborah James has passed away after a six-year battle with bowel cancer.
The presenter was known for her inspiring work as a cancer campaigner after she was diagnosed six years ago.
In a post on their Instagram page, her family shared: “We are deeply saddened to announce the death of Dame Deborah James; Most wonderful wife, daughter, sister, mother,” it said.
He detailed how he shared the ups and downs of his personal battle to “raise awareness, break down barriers, challenge taboos, and change the conversation around cancer.” Even in his most challenging moments, his determination to raise funds and raise awareness was inspiring.”
Bowel Cancer: Your Need-to-Know
According to the charity, bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK and the second biggest cancer killer bowel cancer uk, recent research by University of Surrey Posted in Journal of Medical Screening found that 70% of patients with bowel cancer are not diagnosed using official screening programs, meaning that the diagnosis is often made too late.
As Dr Robert Kerrison, lecturer in cancer care at the University of Surrey explains, bowel cancer is one of the biggest cancer killers in England – but when diagnosed early, the disease is highly treatable. “Therefore, it is important that it is caught early if we want to reduce the number of bowel cancer deaths. As our research shows, it is very worrying that most patients receive a diagnosis by other routes. Happening, often at a time when the cancer is in a more advanced stage.”
There are many different reasons why people don’t attend screenings – embarrassment or “poo taboo”, as James coined it, was the real reason. “We need to normalize this and help people understand the importance of screening, because it undoubtedly saves lives,” Kerrison continues – something that Deborah did in the last few years of her life.
So what are the symptoms of bowel cancer, how common is it, and when should you worry and book a doctor’s appointment? All good questions, that’s why we asked a doctor to take them. Keep scrolling—and while you’re here, don’t miss our guide to guinea cancer, cancer care, and the signs of breast cancer.
Bowel cancer symptoms: 3 things to know
You probably remember James’ final sign-off to his fans – “Find a life worth enjoying and always check your poo!” — because, yes, checking your stool is one of the major signs that something may be off with your bowel.
Dr. Natalie Direquez as Consultant Gastroenterologist vanvelbek Explains, what is most important is to know your body and your normal routine. “Everyone’s bowel movements are different, which is why you should only compare yourself to your normal habits and not anyone else’s,” she stresses.
That said, some of the symptoms of bowel cancer to keep an eye out for are:
1. Change in Bowel Habit
This should be a consistent change over time, where the form of your stool becomes somewhat looser, or if you notice that you need to go to the toilet more often than usual. “Bow habits can vary from day to day from person to person — although a sudden and noticeable change in your bowel habit can be a sign of an underlying health problem,” she shares. “It could be irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or bowel cancer.”
So when it comes to your bowel movements, it’s important to pay attention to the red flags, which include:
2. Blood in your stool
See blood in your stool? Doc Diracz says you should always go to a specialist if this happens — “it’s always advisable to get it checked out if it persists,” she shares.
Why? Because it can be a sign that there is bleeding upwards in the intestine, which you may not notice. “It can cause anemia, fatigue, and shortness of breath during activity,” she shares. “If you’ve been experiencing any of these symptoms for a few weeks, it’s best to see your GP and request a blood test.”
3. Abdominal Pain
While everyone experiences bloating and abdominal pain from time to time, doctors caution that you should be aware of when this is happening and see a doctor if it happens frequently.
“Persistent abdominal pain and bloating — especially brought on by eating — can be a sign of bowel cancer when it develops,” she shares. “If these symptoms persist it is best to seek advice.”