- Blood in the poo when associated with pain or soreness is more often caused by piles (haemorrhoids)
- A change in bowel habit or abdominal pain is usually caused by something you’ve eaten
- A change in bowel habit to going less often, with harder poo, is not usually caused by any serious condition – it may be worth trying laxatives before seeing a GP.
“These symptoms should be taken more seriously as you get older and when they persist despite simple treatments,” adds the NHS.
Although, it advises people should see a GP If they have any of the symptoms of bowel cancer for three weeks or more.
How to reduce your risk
The exact cause of bowel cancer is not known, but there are a number of things that can increase your risk.
Having one or more risk factors doesn’t mean that you will definitely get bowel cancer, however.
Many studies have shown that eating lots of red and processed meat increases the risk of bowel cancer.
According to Cancer Research UK, it is estimated that around 13 out of 100 bowel cancer cases (around 13 percent) in the UK are linked to eating these meats.
Other risk factors include:
- Being overweight and obese
- Physical activity
- Smoking tobacco
- Family history
- Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
- Previous cancer
- Medical conditions
- Benign polyps in the bowel
How is it treated?
Your treatment depends on the stage and whether you have colon or rectal cancer, notes Cancer Research UK.
“The main treatments are chemotherapy, surgery, radiotherapy and chemoradiotherapy,” adds the charity.