Bowel Cancer: Know the Symptoms
April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and in light of this we wanted to share some information on this type of cancer which affects almost 2,500 Irish people every year.
Bowel Cancer, also known as colorectal cancer or cancer of the colon and rectum happens when cells in the bowel change and start to grow quickly. They can form a tumor. A malignant tumor is also known as cancer. If a malignant tumor is not treated, it will affect how the bowel works. Most bowel cancers occur in the large bowel. Bowel cancer can affect both men and women and is the second most common cause of cancer death in Ireland.
As with every type of illness or cancer the most important thing is to ‘know your body’ and to address any issue which seems out of the ordinary, especially where the issue is prolonged. Our bodies are very clever and provide warning signs when something is amiss. The important thing is to recognize the signs.
Symptoms of Bowel Cancer can include:
- A change in your normal bowel motion, such as diarrhea or constipation
- Feeling you have not emptied your bowel fully after a motion
- Pain or discomfort in your abdomen (tummy) or back passage
- Trapped wind or fullness in your tummy
- Weight loss
- Tired and breathless (due to anemia from blood loss)
- Rectal bleeding or blood in stools
It is important to note that these symptoms can also be due to complaints other than bowel cancer however it is important to have them checked out by your doctor, especially if they go on for more than 4 to 6 weeks.
Bowel Screen Programme:
The risk of bowel cancer increases with age. All men and women aged 60 to 69 living in Ireland should be screened. The new programme, Bowel Screen will offer free bowel screening every two years to men and women aged 60 to 69. This will later be available from 55-74.Freephone 1800 45 45 55 for more information
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