Bowel Cancer: Symptoms, Prevention, Treatments

What is "Bowel Cancer"? Bowel cancer or also known as rectal, colorectal or colon cancer, affects the lower part of the digestive system, the large bowel and the rectum.

Bowel cancer isn't easy to treat, mainly because it's often detected once well established and possibly after it has spread beyond the bowel. However, estimates suggest that nine out of 10 cases can be successfully treated if detected early.

- Bleeding from the back passage (rectum) or blood in your stools. Particularly if the blood is dark or plum coloured. And this is the most commonly noticed symptom and should never be ignored.
- A lasting change in normal bowel habits towards diarrhoea or looser stools.
- A lump in the right side of your abdomen, or in your rectum.
- A straining feeling in the rectum.
- Pain in your abdomen or rectum.
- A feeling that you need to empty your bowels even when you've just been to the toilet.
- Some people feel tired, dizzy or breathless because they've become anaemic from microscopic bleeding from the bowel.

Eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day is thought to protect against this and many different cancers through the benefits of the antioxidant vitamins and minerals they contain.

- The main treatment option is surgery, and if the disease can be caught before it breaks through the bowel wall, chances of success are much higher.
- Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy.