Bowel cancer symptoms: The changes to the appearance of your poo that could be a sign

Bowel cancer symptoms explained by Doctor Richard Roope

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Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer to be diagnosed around the world. But it’s often not spotted until much later on, because the symptoms are difficult to spot. Some patients have reported small changes to the size and appearance of their stools, which could be an early sign of the cancer.

Bowel cancer is a very serious condition that’s generally diagnosed in people over 60 years old.

It may sometimes be called colon or rectal condition, dependent on where in the body the cancer has developed.

One of the three key warning signs of bowel cancer is a persistent change to your toilet habit.

You may notice a shift in the consistency of your stools too, warned Cancer Council Victoria.

Your poo may start to become narrower than normal, said the charity.

Some bowel cancer patients may also find they have mucus in their stools, or their poo is looser than they’re used to.

But just because you notice a slight change to your toilet routine, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have bowel cancer.

Diarrhoea and constipation are very common, and are usually caused by something less serious.

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“In its early stages, bowel cancer may have no symptoms,” the charity wrote on its website.

“This is why screening is important to increase the chance of an early diagnosis.

“However, many people with bowel cancer do experience symptoms. These can include: blood in the stools or on the toilet paper, a change in bowel habit, such as diarrhoea, constipation or smaller, more frequent bowel movements, [or] a change in appearance or consistency of bowel movements (e.g. narrower stools or mucus in stools).

“Other conditions, such as haemorrhoids, diverticulitis, or an anal fissure, can also cause these changes.”

The mucus in your stools may appear like a thick jelly, and it’s quite common.

Finding mucus in your poo could be caused by a variety of different medical conditions, including Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and an intestinal infection.

Having large amounts of mucus isn’t normal, however, and could be a sign of something serious.

Your may also find blood or pus in your stools, stomach bloating, or unexplained cramping.

Meanwhile, other common bowel cancer symptoms include persistent bloating, unexplained weight loss, and rectal pain.

You’re more likely to be diagnosed with bowel cancer if you’re overweight, or eat a diet that’s rich in processed meats.

Speak to a doctor straight away if you think you may be at risk of the disease.

Early diagnosis is absolutely essential for treating bowel cancer.

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