Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the UK.
Most victims of the disease are over the age of 60, but it can still target younger people.
There are three main symptoms of bowel cancer, one of which is persistent lower abdominal pain, bloating or discomfort.
Bloating and stomach pain associated with bowel cancer is always caused by eating and may develop alongside loss of appetite or signifiant unintentional weight loss.
For most people who experience stomach bloating, it is usually nothing serious, and can be caused by trapped wind.
However, if it persists for more than four weeks, the NHS advises seeing a doctor.
The second main symptom of bowel cancer is a persistent change in bowel habits, such as going more often, with looser stools.
The third main symptom is blood in the stools, without experiencing symptoms of haemorrhoids.
According to the NHS, more than 90 per cent of people with bowel cancer will have one of the three main symptoms.
Most of the time these symptoms will not signify cancer, but again the NHS advises seeing a doctor if they stick around for a long time.
In the majority of cases, changes in bowel habits is usually the result of something you’ve eaten.
Blood in the stools, when associated with pain or soreness, is more often caused by piles, otherwise known as haemorrhoids.
“Most people with these symptoms don’t have bowel cancer,” said the NHS.
“If you have one or more of the symptoms of bowel cancer, and they persist for more than four weeks, you should see your GP.”
In some cases, bowel cancer can stop digestive waste passing through the bowel.
This is known as bowel obstruction, and is regarded as a medical emergency.
Symptoms of bowel obstruction include intermittent and occasionally severe abdominal pain, which is always provoked by eating.
Unintentional weight loss with persistent abdominal pain is another symptom, as is constant swelling of the tummy, also with abdominal pain.
Vomiting with constant abdominal swelling is another symptom of bowel obstruction.
“A bowel obstruction is a medical emergency. If you suspect your bowel is obstructed, you should see your GP quickly,” said the NHS.
“If this isn’t possible, go to the accident and emergency (A&E) department of your nearest hospital.”