Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancers diagnosed in the UK. Bowel cancer is a general term that encompasses cancer that begins in the large intestine which is made up of four parts: cecum, colon, rectum, and anal canal. Depending on where exactly the cancer starts, it can also be called colon or rectal cancer. Most people diagnosed with this type of cancer are over the age of 60. If you feel that yourself or a loved one is suffering from bowel cancer symptoms, it is important to arrange a screening appointment to see a doctor. This information and advice must not be seen as a substitute for clinic review.
What are the bowel cancer symptoms?
As with any form of cancer, there are often some warning signs to look out for. If you are suffering from the following symptoms, we recommend getting in touch to arrange a consultation.
- Unexplained weight loss
- A change in bowel habit (i.e more frequent visits to the toilet)
- Intermittent and occasionally severe abdominal pain
- Chronic tiredness
What causes bowel cancer?
There are approximately 35,000 new cases of bowel cancer diagnosed in the UK every year with 8/10 of those occurring in the over 60’s. With that being said, certain factors are believed to increase the risk.
High risk factors:
- High alcohol intake
- Processed foods, particularly meat
- Red meat
Low risk factors:
- Aspirin like painkillers
- Low fat and high fibre diet
Bowel cancer symptoms
Bowel cancer screening: The first step in treating bowel cancer is identifying it. The most effective way of reducing your chances of dying from bowel cancer is by having a bowel cancer screening.
Some of the most effective ways of reducing your chances of developing bowel cancer in the future is by having polyps removed during a colonoscopy.
Bowel Cancer Treatment: If you are diagnosed with bowel cancer after a screening, you will be referred for bowel cancer treatment. One of main treatments for bowel cancers is surgery. Normally the cancerous section of the bowel is removed which is the most effective way of curing bowel cancer and in many cases is all you need. Another treatment for bowel cancer is chemotherapy, this is where medicine is used to kill the cancerous cells or radiotherapy where radiation is used to kill the cells.
Visit our bowel cancer treatment page to learn more.
Reasons for choosing private bowel cancer screening
There are a number of things to consider if you are looking for bowel cancer healthcare. Firstly, bowel cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the UK and has the second highest mortality rate. If the diagnosis is made at a later stage, the survival rate is relatively poor.
Despite this, the NHS does not provide screening for bowel cancer until the age of 55 when you are eligible for a one-time bowel scope screening test. Then between the ages of 60 and 74, you can take one at home screening test that checks for presence of blood in the stool. Anyone who has abnormal results is then entitled to a colonoscopy which will further investigate the causes of the positive test results.
The issue with this is that in Europe and North America, it is recommended that people are screened for bowel cancer much earlier on at the age of 50 and this initial testing should include a colonoscopy. This is to identify the presence of bowel cancer at an earlier stage making it much more treatable. This, along with post-covid waiting lists growing longer and appointments getting pushed back further and further, increasing numbers of people are opting for private healthcare screenings and treatments. This is rather than relying on the NHS to provide screening tests because it gives patients peace of mind knowing you have been tested for a dangerous disease.
Therefore, if you or a loved one are suffering from any of the bowel cancer symptoms mentioned above and/or increased risk factors it may be worth getting in touch to book a screening appointment with Mr Andrew Clarke.