Bowel Health and Awareness

Bowel Health and Awareness

April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month in the UK, an annual event that raises awareness of bowel cancer. Bowel cancer is a general term for cancer that begins in the large bowel. Depending on where the cancer starts, bowel cancer is sometimes called colon or rectal cancer. The exact cause of bowel cancer is not known, but according to several studies, there are a number of things that can increase your risk. These include:

  • Age – almost 9 in 10 people with bowel cancer are aged 60 or over
  • Diet – a diet high in red or processed meats and low in fibre can increase your risk
  • Weight – bowel cancer is more common in people who are overweight or obese
  • Exercise – being inactive increases your risk of getting bowel cancer
  • Alcohol – drinking alcohol may increase your risk of getting bowel cancer
  • Smoking– smoking may increase your chances of getting bowel cancer
  • Family history – having a close relative (mother or father, brother or sister) who developed bowel cancer under the age of 50 increases your lifetime life-time risk of developing the condition; screening is offered to people in this situation

Some people may have an increased risk of bowel cancer because they have had another condition, such as extensive ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease in the colon for more than 10 years.

Common symptoms of bowel cancer include:

  • Persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit
  • Blood in poo
  • Sudden and unexplained weight loss
  • Being easily fatigued with no obvious reason or cause
  • Pain or a lump in the tummy

You can improve your bowel health by:

  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Drinking enough fluids
  • Limiting the amount of alcohol consumed
  • Chewing your food well
  • Not missing meals

 

Early diagnosis for Bowel Cancer and any other type of cancer saves lives.