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Bowel cancer

Posted in General on Thursday, 05 April 2018
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.

Cancer can sometimes start in the small bowel (small intestine), but small bowel cancer is much rarer than large bowel cancer. Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed in the UK, with around 40,000 new cases diagnosed every year. About 1 in every 20 people in the UK will develop bowel cancer in their lifetime.


Important Facts About Bowel Cancer and Home Screening.

  • Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in Scotland (after lung and breast cancer). Almost 4,000 people get it every year
  • The older you get the higher your risk of developing bowel cancer. It's more common in people over 50, especially men
  • If it’s detected early enough, there is a 9 out of 10 chance of beating it. That’s because the sooner it’s found the easier it is to treat.
  • The whole point of doing screening test is to find bowel cancer early, even if you’ve had no obvious symptoms and you feel fine.
  • Home screening prevents around 150 deaths every year in Scotland.
  • The test picks up most but not every bowel cancer – because it looks for hidden blood and not all cancers bleed.
  • Right now, only 55% of Scots who are the right age for the home screening test actually take it.

Signs and Symptoms to look out for.

  • Screening won’t catch every bowel cancer as not all cancers bleed. And it is important to look out for some tell-tale signs and symptoms of bowel cancer, whether or not you do the screening test
  • Repeated bleeding from your bottom or blood in your poo.
  • A recent change in your poo that continues for more than six weeks, without going back to normal.
  • Watery poo on its own or with constipation. (constipation on its own is less likely to be serious)
  • Servere pain in your tomach that won’t go away, especially after eating.
  • You’ve recently lost weight without trying.
  • You feel tired all the time and people keep telling you, “You look a bit pale.”

If you are looking to find out a little bit more about bowel cancer, go online to or call 0800 22 44 88.

In fact, if you have any worries at all, even between screenings, you should make an appointment with your doctor. Your GP wants to hear from you. If you live in Scotland and you’re between the ages of 50 -74 and you haven’t completed a bowel screening test in the past two years – you can ask about getting one:


0800 0121 833


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