Hidden warning signs in your poo that could be symptoms of cancer

Considered the fourth most common cancer diagnosis, bowel cancer claims around 16,800 lives every year in the UK alone, according to Bowel Cancer UK. This gloomy statistic underlines the need to pay attention to any unusual changes in your body – especially in your poo.

Just like all forms of cancer, early detection significantly improves your chances of an effective treatment. This makes symptom awareness front and centre.

Fortunately, a colorectal surgeon has outlined four warning signs of bowel cancer to spot. From the frequency of your bowel habits to what you spot on the loo roll, what happens between the four bathroom walls could ring alarm bells.

1. Know when you go

According to colorectal surgeon James Kinross at King Edward VII, one potential indicator of bowel cancer is any significant change in your pooing habits. The expert said: For example, pooing more often than normal, or having looser, runnier stools. 

“This would be more likely related to an external factor such as stress, eating more fibre or a change in diet, but it’s worth getting yourself checked if the problem persists.”

2. Blood in stools

Another red flag sign is spotting blood in your stools or on the loo roll after you wipe.

Kinross said: “If you’re noticing blood in your stools, and you don’t suffer from haemorrhoids, it may be a warning sign that something isn’t quite right. 

“Normally your doctor will ask you to simply supply them with a stool sample, and they will use a Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) to uncover any hidden blood in your stool. 

“This will help them assess whether the problem is bowel cancer or another issue.”

3. Abdominal pain

While abdominal pain can be triggered by a wide range of issues, ranging from muscle fatigue to period pains, it can also be a sign of bowel cancer. 

The doctor recommended looking out especially for discomfort or bloating always brought on by eating – which can lead you to eat less, and in turn lose weight.

“[This] is something that needs to be assessed by a medical professional,” Kinross added.

4. Pain or lump

Another warning sign that could be pointing to bowel cancer is a pain or lump in your stomach or back passage. 

The colorectal surgeon said: “Though this is likely to be benign, it may indicate a malignant growth. 

“With that in mind, you should always have any new lumps, or lumps which have increased in size, checked by your GP.”

The doctor added that early detection is one of the best ways to increase your chances of surviving from bowel cancer. Therefore, you shouldn’t be embarrassed to talk about your poo, or bowel habits.

Kinross added: “Doctors are there to listen confidentially and without judgement. Talking to them will allow them to run the necessary tests and treat you as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

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