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Bowel cancer

What is bowel cancer?

Bowel cancer (also known as colorectal cancer) is a malignant growth that most often is found inside the large bowel but can also occur in the rectum. Most bowel cancers develop from small growths known as polyps. Polyps are like small spots on the bowel wall.

It is important to remember that not all polyps will grow into cancer, however regular screening will assist in the detection of any polyps.

Symptoms

Like other cancers, bowel cancer can develop with no signs or symptoms.

If you do experience any symptoms, these may include:

  • bleeding from the rectum
  • blood in your bowel motions (faeces)
  • persistent pain in the abdomen
  • persistent change in normal bowel habits such as diarrhoea, constipation or going to the toilet more often
  • unexplained tiredness
  • weight loss

If you have any of these symptoms, contact your doctor to discuss.

Who’s at risk of getting bowel cancer?

Both men and women can get bowel cancer, however, your chances of getting bowel cancer increase if you:

Ways to reduce your risk

Being healthy can prevent bowel cancer. It is recommended that you:

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