Sunday, 12 June 2011

Bowel cancer - know the signs

Some of you may be aware of an organisation called "The Link". This was set up mainly to give the public via affiliated members, an opportunity of raising health issues and obtaining more information about the NHS and attendant matters.  In Havering, we have a very hard-working branch which holds many meetings and is indebted to its secretary Joan Smith.

The last meeting's set of minutes had with its enclosures details of symptoms of bowel cancer and although this is not a pleasant subject, I thought it worth our while to know a little more about it and to be very aware of its effects.  What should be stressed is that if you have any concerns in this regard, please do not ignore them and close your eyes.

It was mentioned that many people do nothing about worrying signs because they are afraid, embarrassed or do not want to waste their GP's time.  Well the answer to this is that embarrassment should never stop anyone from consulting their GP.   He, after all, is used to "bodies" of all sorts and is only interested in their workings.  It is NEVER a waste of time to ask your doctor about any anxieties you may have. He will be only too pleased that you have shown courage in coming forward and by doing so, have probably caught the disease in good time.

Finally, there is the fear, and one's imagination running riot. If you can grit your teeth, pick up the telephone, you are halfway there. Someone at the other end will be only too pleased to make an appointment and put your mind at rest. After all, your fear and discomfort will be so much worse if you ignore any nasty signs so that they become reality. An early diagnosis can put a stop to all this.

Always remember that many cancers are now treatable especially if caught in the early stages, so make that phone call or go along to your doctor's surgery and whatever the outcome, you will get rid of that nasty anxiety of not knowing.

First, you need to know what exactly bowel cancer is. It is a disease of the large bowel (colon) or rectum. It is also sometimes called colorectal or colon cancer. It affects both men and women and is most common in people over 50 years of age.

So here are the important signs to take note of:-
  • Bleeding from the bottom.
  • Persistent changes in the bowel habit such as diarrhoea or loose stools.
  • Severe abdominal pain.
  • A lump in the tummy.
  • Weight loss.
  • Tiredness.
  • Unexplained iron deficiency.
Now it is a known fact that people who read medical books or journals imagine, as a result, that they have all sorts of things wrong with them. However, any of the above should be given serious thought.

Before you become completely depressed, if you think you have bowel cancer symptoms, such as bleeding from the rectum, remember, you may be suffering from a polyps or cyst. If your bowel movements are irregular, you may simply have an irritable bowel. None of these things may be life threatening, but a word with your GP may reveal them to be treatable and if your worst suspicions are confirmed, then you will have caught the trouble early and given yourself a much better chance of a good outcome.

So please pick up the phone and put yourself on the road to knowing exactly what is wrong, if anything, and what the next step will be. You will feel happier to know where you stand and give the medical profession a chance to put things right which is what they all want to do.

Don't waste time grasp the nettle and if necessary, drag someone along with you which may give you the moral courage you need.


  1. I actually enjoyed reading through this posting.Many thanks...

    Symptoms of Bowel Cancer

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