Bowel cancers rise among under-50s in the UK, study finds

More young people under 50 are being diagnosed with bowel cancer. Credit: PA

Bowel cancers are on the rise among under-50s in the UK, prompting calls to lower the screening age.

New research shows incidents of bowel cancers in adults under 50 have increased substantially over the latest available 10-year period, while the levels for other age groups either dropped or remained the same.

Although the total numbers of cases in young people remain low, studies revealed a sharp rise in rates in 20 to 29-year-olds.

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

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?