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Bowel Cancer

Many people diagnosed never had any symptoms or early warning signs.

MYTH: Colon cancer is a “men’s disease” FACT: Colon cancer is just as common among women as men
MYTH: Colon cancer cannot be prevented FACT: In truth, when found early, colon cancer can be prevented from reaching an advanced stage
MYTH: I don’t have any symptoms of colon cancer, so there’s no reason to get screened FACT: Regular screening is the key to early detection because colon cancer often has no obvious signs or symptoms in the early stages
MYTH: Age doesn’t matter when it comes to getting colon cancer FACT: A large percentage of cases of all colon cancers are found in people who are 50 and older
MYTH: There’s only one way to get screened FACT: Not true! Screening procedures have improved and there are a number of different methods available

Farty Facts:

  • Surgery for bowel cancer doesn’t always mean needing a permanent colostomy bag.
  • Flatulence (farting) is not a definite sign of cancer, no matter how smelly.
  • Just because someone in your family had bowel cancer doesn’t mean you will also. But it is true that your risk is higher if a close relative (parent, sister or brother) had bowel cancer.

Watch out for:

  • Blood in or on the stool (either bright red or very dark in colour)
  • A persistent change in normal bowel habits such as diarrhea, constipation or both, for no apparent reason
  • Frequent or constant cramps if they last for more than a few days
  • Stools that are narrower than usual
  • General stomach discomfort (bloating, fullness and/or cramps)
  • Frequent gas pains
  • A strong and continuing need to move your bowels, but with little stool
  • A feeling that the bowel does not empty completely
  • Weight loss for no known reason
  • Constant tiredness

Note: Above are the most common signs but it is important to note that the symptoms are not unique – check with your doctor if you suspect a problem.

At the earliest opportunity, turn around. There are things you can do yourself to lower your risk:

  • Pitch the junk food, fat and sugar and go for more fruit and vegetables
  • Discuss any family history of bowel cancer with the doc
  • Get some exercise
  • Lose excess weight
  • Most of all, quit the weed

See your GP if you have any of the symptoms listed.