Bowel Cancer – Facts
- Bowel Cancer is the 2nd biggest killer in the whole of the United Kingdom.
- Bowel Cancer is the 4th most common of cancers in the UK.
- 94% of people who get bowel cancer are aged over 50, but it can still affect people of any age.
Like many cancers Bowel cancer is treatable if found or diagnosed early on. You have a great chance of survival and treatment if you get it diagnosed early. Having said that, it is still the 2nd biggest cancer killer in the UK, but the annual numbers dying from it have been falling since the 1970’s, and that is more than likely to be because of getting it picked up and treated early by the medical professionals.
Bowel Cancer – Did You Know?
- Did you know that bowel cancer is also known as Colorectoral Cancer?
That is because it covers both the rectum and the colon, known as “The Large Bowel,” but what happens with cancer cells is that they can change the way your body reacts, then grow and divide off into other parts of the body. Basically, the body cells divide and grow in an uncontrolled way and from there can, if untreated, grow in other parts of your body.
Quite often cells develop as what are known as polyps, just before they grow into cancer cells. Some polyps are not cancerous, but some are, and that is where your doctor has to make a judgement about whether they need cutting out or just treating them.
The Large Bowel area’s job is to absorb water from food waste that is not digested properly, as it is filtered down to exit at the rectum. Your body waste products becomes poo and is stored in the rectum until you go to the toilet naturally.
Bowel Cancer – Symptoms To Watch For
As we have emphasised earlier, and as is the case with many cancers, catching it early is the best way to beat it. Now many of these symptoms here may not mean that you have Bowel Cancer, but it is always best to get them checked out by your doctor.
- If you get constant pains or can sense a lump in you stomach or up your rectum.
- Anaemia: if you feel very tired and look pale or ashen.
- If you have a sudden, unexplained weight loss, or you just get that bloated feeling that puts you off your meals.
- Changes in your toilet functions. You might change from being regular in the mornings, or you want to go more often, or constant looseness, all changes should be investigated.
- Blood in your poo, is always a sign of something going on down there, it might not be cancer, it could be something else entirely, but get it checked out. I scared myself as a 30-year-old when this happened, but it turned out to be an external haemorrhoid. That diagnosis eased my fears. So always consult your medical professional.
- Remember that the earlier you consult the better your chances with most cancers.
Bowel Cancer – Screening Programmes in the UK
If you are over 60 in the UK, except for Scotland where the starting age is 50, you would probably have been sent a regular screening test every 2 years until you reach the age of 75.
You will have been sent a test kit to do at home, whereby you take a small scrape sample on 3 or 4 sticks of your poo, over each following day, and enclose in a sealed pack, which is sent away to a laboratory to check if you have any signs of blood in your stools.
Like many tests, it is not an exact science and if you sense that things might not be right with your bowel movements at any time in between those 2-year tests, consult your doctor and he will refer you for further tests if necessary.
Treatment can involve chemotherapy, radiotherapy, either separately or together. Some people also choose complimentary therapies such as relaxation therapy, massage, music, yoga, and acupuncture. These can be offered as Reiki, Pranic Healing or other forms involving meditation even. There are no figures to show how successful these are but if they relax and relieve the stresses and worries that cancer can bring, then many people feel that they have an additional beneficial effect.
Often the hospital might have some of these practitioners on site or may provide the patient with their contact details.