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Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK and the second biggest cancer killer. Every year over 41,000 people are diagnosed with the disease. However, it is treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early.


Bowel cancer screening – if you are aged 60-74 and registered with your GP you will receive an NHS screening test in the post every two years. Screening can detect tiny amounts of blood in poo, which can't normally be seen. Bowel cancer screening could save your life.


For more information call the bowel screening helpline: 0800 707 6060


You are more at risk of getting bowel cancer if you have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • Are 50 or over -the risk of bowel cancer increases with age, but it can affect people of any age
  • A strong family history of bowel cancer
  • A history of non-cancerous growths (polyps) in your bowel
  • Longstanding inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • An unhealthy lifestyle-your diet, drinking alcohol, smoking and not being physically active can all increase your risk. 

Having risk factors doesn't mean that you will definitely get bowel cancer. Equally, if you don't have any risk factors, it doesn't mean you won't get bowel cancer. Symptoms to look out for:

  • Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
  • A change in your bowel habit lasting three weeks or more
  • Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
  • A pain or lump in your tummy
  • Unexplained weight lossMost people with these symptoms don't have bowel cancer. Other health problems can cause similar symptoms. But if you have one or more of these, or if things just don't feel right, visit your GP.


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