Bowel cancer symptoms: Look before you flush – your stools could reveal the deadly disease

Bowel cancer “typically affects older adults”. And when you go to the toilet, pay attention to a few signs – you could have the deadly disease.

The first warning sign of bowel cancer is “a persistent change in your bowel habits”, says the Mayo Clinic.

This could mean a change in the consistency of your stools – it could either be more watery, akin to diarrhoea, or really hard to squeeze out (constipation).

Whether it’s hard or soft, you’re more than likely to feel the difference when sitting on the throne.

Tearing off some tissue from the toilet roll, most people wipe and let it go.

But the next sign of bowel cancer could be smeared across that bog roll. It’s daring, but take a look.

Any spots of blood are an alarming sign that something isn’t right – but it could be much less dangerous than bowel cancer.

Rectal bleeding (known as hematochezia) can show up in a variety of ways, outlined by the NHS.

The national health body states you may be bleeding from the bottom if you have blood on your toilet paper.

Another clue is that there are “red streaks on the outside of your poo”, or there’s “pink water in the toilet bowl”.

There could be “blood in the poo or bloody diarrhoea”, or a “very dark, smelly poo”, which can be indicative of blood mixed in poo.

A bleeding bottom could be the result of piles, anal fissure, an STI (sexually transmitted infection) or a side effect of blood-thinning medication, such as warfarin.

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With so many possibilities as to why you have a bleeding rectum, it’s important to note the other symptoms of bowel cancer.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a person with bowel cancer may experience persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain.

In addition, one may feel as though they haven’t completely emptied their bowels, even though they’ve just popped off to the loo.

Other symptoms of bowel cancer include weakness, fatigue, and unexplained weight loss.

Anyone registered with their GP over the age of 55 is entitled to have a free bowel cancer screening in England.

This free NHS examination is offered until somebody reaches the age of 74.

However, if you’re 75 and over, and you’d still like to be checked, you can ask for a home testing kit by calling 0800 707 60 60.

This bowel cancer screening helpline is free to call, so don’t hesitate to call today.

The home test (the faecal immunochemical test kit) checks for tiny amounts of blood in your stool.

This type of test only requires one sample of poo to be collected in a plastic bottle.

The faeces sample is then sent to a laboratory for testing. When the test is sent out to you, it’ll have easy-to-follow instructions.

Also speak with your GP if you’re concerned about any of the symptoms listed above.

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