Bowel cancer: Signs, symptoms and how to get tested

You may be asked for a blood sample when getting tested for bowel cancer.

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer and affects the large bowel, which is made up of the colon and rectum.

Around 268,000 people living in the UK today have been diagnosed with bowel cancer, according to Bowel Cancer UK.

Even moderate amounts of ham, bacon and and red meat are linked to bowel cancer, experts have warned.

What are the symptoms of bowel cancer?

The symptoms of bowel cancer can be subtle and don't necessarily make you feel ill.

According to the NHS, more than 90% of people with bowel cancer have at least one of the following symptoms:

  • Persistent change in bowel habit - going more often, with looser stools

  • Blood in the stools - from your bottom/in your poo

  • Abdominal pain, discomfort or bloating always brought on by eating sometimes resulting eating less and weight loss

  • Constipation - where you pass harder stools less often

How to get tested for bowel cancer?

First you should contact your GP who will examine your body before you could be asked to do a blood test, give a stool sample or a screening test.

The main test used to look for bowel cancer is a colonoscopy which examines the full length of the bowel.

Where can you find out more?