‘Nearly all people’ with bowel cancer will experience dyschezia

Bowel cancer: Dr Philippa Kaye lists the symptoms

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While the symptoms of bowel cancer may make many people feel squeamish, the condition needs to be acted on as soon as possible. This buys you precious time to stop cancerous cells from spreading to other regions of your body. What’s more, the earlier you catch cancer, the higher your chances of successful treatment will be. Fortunately, an expert has shared key signs that strike when you go to the loo, including dyschezia.

From changes in your bowel habits to crippling tiredness, there are many red flags that can signal bowel cancer.

Dr Belinda Griffiths, GP from The Fleet Street Clinic, said: “Also known as colorectal cancer, bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK but the second biggest killer.

“More than 16,000 people die from bowel cancer in the UK every year.”

Luckily, being able to identify the warning signs promptly could help catch the culprit while it’s very much “treatable and curable”.

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The expert shared that “nearly all people” with the condition will experience changes in their bowel habits, which can include dyschezia.

Dyschezia, or constipation, is characterised by pain or straining when you try to go for number two.

This sign occurs when bowel movements become less frequent and stools become difficult to pass, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

While the GP listed constipation as a possible sign, the NHS explains that constipation is “rarely caused by serious bowel conditions”.

However, Griffiths also shared other key signs that target “nearly all people” with bowel cancer.

The tell-tale symptoms to look out for include:

  • A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habits such as:
  • Having more frequent bowel movements, having looser stools
  • Blood in your stools or rectal bleeding
  • Abdominal pain, discomfort or bloating
  • A lump in your abdomen or your back passage
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme tiredness for no reason.

Griffiths said: “The symptoms of bowel cancer can be subtle and can often be confused with symptoms of other, less serious illnesses.

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“It is important to note that the majority of people with these symptoms do not have bowel cancer but symptoms should not be ignored just in case it is.

“You should highlight concerns and symptoms which are present for longer than three weeks to your doctor so they can investigate the cause.

“Delaying investigation could result in bowel cancer being diagnosed at a later stage.”

However, the expert also warned that the condition might not cause any symptoms in some cases, making it difficult to spot.

Fortunately, this is where bowel cancer screening steps in with its ability to reveal tiny traces of blood in your poo.

How to reduce your risk of bowel cancer?

Scientists believe that around 54 percent of all bowel cancer cases could be “prevented” by leading a healthier lifestyle, Bowel Cancer UK reports.

From a healthy diet to quitting smoking, there are various lifestyle tweaks that could see your risk fall.

Your diet regime should focus on reducing your intake of red and processed meat as this can hike your risk while eating more fibre.

The UK Health Security Agency suggests that cutting back on alcohol and exercising regularly could also help.

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