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10 Warning Signs of Bowel (Colorectal) Cancer You Shouldn’t Ignore


Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described here in this article, then you are best to talk to your doctor. It could be nothing, and you are probably absolutely fine, but for your peace of mind, it is worth getting it checked out. But before discussing Signs and Symptoms of Bowel Cancer, it’s also important to which attribute to developing this disease:

Risk Factors

  • Family History – There is evidence that bowel cancer is hereditary. According to NHS website, around 20% of people who develop bowel cancer have a close relative (mother, father, brother or sister) or a second-degree relative (grandparent, uncle or aunt) who have also had bowel cancer.
  • Diet – There is a vast amount of evidence that suggests a diet high in red and processed meat can increase the chances of developing bowel cancer. Therefore, it is wise to maintain a healthy diet, low in saturated fat and high in fiber in order to reduce your bowel cancer risk. You can also read my previous article about the top 5 cancer causing foods to avoid.
  • Smoking – Those who smoke cigarettes have an increased chance of developing bowel cancer, and other types of cancer and heart disease.
  • Alcohol – A major study that took place, called the EPIC study, showed alcohol was linked with bowel cancer risk. Rather worryingly, the study showed that even small amounts of alcohol can put you at an increased risk of developing bowel cancer. The EPIC study showed that for every two units of alcohol a person drinks per day, their risk of bowel cancer increases by 8%.
  • Obesity – Morbidly obese men and women have an increased risk of developing bowel cancer, compared to those with a healthy weight. You can start to better manage your weight by implementing these 12 simple tweaks for weight loss.
  • Inactivity – People who don’t exercise are more likely to develop bowel cancer than those who exercise.
  • Digestive Disorders – People with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are more likely to develop bowel cancer.
  • Genetic Conditions – There are certain inherited conditions that can cause bowel cancer, such asfamilial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), also known as Lynch syndrome, and more.
  • Racial and Ethnic Background – African Americans are more likely to develop bowel cancer than any other racial group in the United Sates. Jews of Eastern European descent (Ashkenazi Jews) also have a high chance of developing the disease.
  • Type 2 Diabetes – People with type 2 diabetes have an increases risk of developing bowel cancer. Type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer have some of the same risk factors (such as excess weight). If you suffer from type 2 diabetes, read my article about the 12 best foods to control diabetes.
  • Night Shift Work – The results of one study showed that people who do night shift work for at least three nights a month for at least 15 years, are more likely to develop bowel cancer. However, more research needs to be carried out in order to confirm this.
  • Previous Treatment for Cancer – Some studies have suggested that men who survive testicular and prostate cancer, have an increased risk of developing bowel cancer. It is thought that this is due to side-effects of the cancer treatment they receive.

Signs and Symptoms of Bowel Cancer

Some of the symptoms mentioned below have been commonly experienced by many people (such as constipation or diarrhea), but they become worrying when they are persistent or accompanied by more specific signs or bowel cancer such as bloody stools or rectal bleeding.

1. Blood in Stools

If you find blood on, or mixed in with your stools, then this could be sign that you have bowel cancer. The blood may be dark, or bright red, and mixed with mucus. Once you see your doctor, they will send off a stool sample for a laboratory analysis called a fecal occult blood test.


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