Spot the Symptoms of Bowel Cancer

Posted on April 9, 2018

What are the symptoms of bowel cancer?

Common symptoms of bowel cancer include:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Stomach pain, discomfort or swelling
  • Bowel movements that have become softer or more watery
  • Extreme tiredness for no reason

Bowel cancer awareness

April is Bowel Cancer UK’s annual Bowel Cancer Awareness Month campaign. It’s used as a vehicle to help raise awareness of bowel cancer.

Other types of cancer, including prostate and ovarian, tend to get a great deal of coverage in the news. But bowel cancer tends to get far less coverage even though it is treatable if diagnosed early.

Is there a test for bowel cancer?

There are two main tests used for detecting bowel cancer – both tests look for tiny traces of blood in a sample of your stool. The FOB test (faecal occult blood test) is the standard test, but it does have limitations. For example, the FOB test may require you to avoid certain medications and follow certain dietary restrictions (like cutting out red meat and vitamin C) before your test. If you don’t follow the very strict instructions, your test results are likely to be unreliable.

Unlike the FOB test, the FIT test (Faecal Immunochemical Test) does not require you to change your diet or medication prior to you collecting your stool sample.

The FIT test isn’t currently available through the NHS in all areas of the UK, but it is the test we use at Bluecrest.

Our Early Cancer Risk Review package includes a FIT Bowel Cancer test.