Most of us don’t remember a time without breast cancer awareness, when October was just a month and the color pink was for baby girls. Back then, it took Betty Ford and other activist women to make it okay to talk about breasts in public, let alone breast cancer. It’s time to talk frankly about cancer and another private part of the body. This is Be Loud Be Clear About Bowel Cancer Week.
I didn’t know the symptoms of bowel cancer (also known as colon cancer or colorectal cancer), so I’m guessing a lot of you don’t either. Take a moment to look over the symptoms and, if you have been experiencing any one of them for three weeks or more, please see your doctor to get it checked out:
- Bleeding from the bottom (rectal bleeding) without any obvious reason. You may also notice other symptoms such as straining, soreness, lumps and itchiness. These symptoms can be caused by hemorrhoids, but are also “red flag” symptoms for urgent investigation, so it is very important to see your doctor, who can take a full history and do an initial examination.
- A persistent change in bowel habit meaning any unexpected or unexplained change to your normal habits. You can sometimes experience a problem with constipation or experience a feeling that your bowel is not completely empty. It is especially important to see a doctor if you are going to the toilet more often or experiencing looser stools and/or passing lots of clear, “jelly-like” mucus.
- Abdominal pain that is constant or which comes and goes. You should seek help immediately it it becomes severe.
- A lump in your stomach especially on the right hand side.
- Unexplained tiredness, dizziness & breathlessness (signs of anemia.)
- Unexpected and unexplained weight loss.
Most of the symptoms above will not result in a bowel cancer diagnosis. If it is bowel cancer, over 90% of cases can be successfully treated if diagnosed early. Need more information? If you live in England, call the beatingbowelcancer.org helpline to talk to a nurse, or email them today. And thank you to beatingbowelcancer for the video and list of symptoms above. If you have any concerns, take their advice and “don’t sit on your symptoms!”
Survival > Existence,