Bowel cancer is a serious disease but, if diagnosed early, is often curable. Bowel cancer is also called colorectal cancer. Blood or mucus in the faeces (poo) may be a symptom of bowel cancer. Other symptoms may include diarrhoea or constipation, bloating or cramps and constant fatigue. Regular health checks and screening for bowel cancer every two years from the age of 50 is recommended. Check out : Bowel Cancer Screening Bowel cancer The colon and rectum together are known as the large bowel. Bowel cancer usually affects the large bowel. Cancer of the large bowel is also known as colorectal cancer. The bowel is the long ‘tube’ that absorbs water and nutrients from food and processes waste products into faeces. It includes the small bowel, colon and rectum. As people get older, little lumps called polyps may grow inside the colon or rectum and can become cancerous. A polyp looks like small spots on the bowel lining or like cherries on stalks. Not all polyps become cancerous. If polyps are removed, the risk of bowel cancer is reduced. The development of bowel cancer generally takes many years. It usually begins in the lining of the colon or rectum. Often very small amounts of blood, which may not be able to be seen, are leaked from these cancers long before any symptoms develop. This blood is then passed into the faeces. If untreated, it spreads deeper into the wall of the bowel. From there, it can spread to lymph nodes in the area. Later, bowel cancer can spread to the liver or lungs.
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