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Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers to be diagnosed in the UK. You should consider speaking to a doctor if you find that your stools are a slightly different colour to look out for, it’s been revealed.
Bowel cancer is a general term for any cancer that develops in the large bowel, and it may sometimes be known as colon or rectal cancer.
The early warning signs of bowel cancer can be very subtle, and many people may not be aware that they’re at risk.
That’s why it’s crucial that you always check your stools after using the toilet.
One of the key warning signs of bowel cancer is finding that your stools have turned a slight red colour.
Some bowel cancer patients find that their poo develops a dark red tinge, according to Cancer Research UK.
The colour change may be caused by the presence of blood, it said.
Bleeding higher up in the bowel may cause your poo to appear like tar.
You should speak to a doctor straight away if you notice any change to the colour of your poo.
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“Blood in poo (stools or faeces) can be a sign of bowel cancer,” it said. “But it is often due to other causes.
“See your GP if you are worried about any symptoms that you think could be caused by cancer in the bowel.
“Blood from higher up in the bowel doesn’t look bright red. It goes dark red or black and can make your bowel motions look like tar.
“This type of bleeding can be a sign of cancer higher up the bowel. Or it could be from a bleeding stomach ulcer for example.”
But just because your stools appear to be a red colour, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have bowel cancer.
Bright red blood on your poo, for example, could be caused by haemorrhoids.
Haemorrhoids – or piles – are swollen blood vessels that could protrude out of the anus.
Speak to a doctor if you’re worried that you may have haemorrhoids, as there are a number of treatments available.
You could lower your risk of bowel cancer by making some small diet or lifestyle changes.
Eating large amounts of red and processed meats have been linked with a higher likelihood of bowel cancer.
Smoking, drinking too much alcohol and obesity could also lead to the disease, the NHS warned.
More than 90 percent of all bowel cancer causes occur in people over the age of 50.
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