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Signs and Symptoms

Bowel cancer frequently develops without early symptoms. Symptoms that can occur include:

  • Diarrhoea, constipation, or other changes in bowel habit lasting 10 days or more
  • Bright red blood or mucus in the stool
  • Very dark flecks in the stool (which can also be due to blood)
  • Abdominal pain and tenderness in the lower abdomen
  • Iron-deficiency anaemia for no known reason
  • Abdominal discomfort (frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness and cramps)
  • A feeling of still wanting to go to the toilet even after having emptied the bowels
  • Complete blockage of the intestine
  • Weight loss for no known reason
  • Constant tiredness

These symptoms can be caused by cancer or by a number of other conditions. It is important to talk to your doctor and to screen for the presence of bowel cancer. If the polyps that lead to the cancer are detected and removed, bowel cancer can often be prevented. If bowel cancer is detected early, it is up to 90% curable.


Last Review Date: November 28, 2018