Pemberton Surgery

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Bowel Cancer Symptoms and FIT testing

Bowel Cancer Symptoms and FIT testing

Around 16,000 people die from bowel cancer each year, making it the UK’s second biggest cancer killer. However, this shouldn’t be the case as the disease is treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early. An estimated 9 in 10 people will survive bowel cancer if diagnosed at the earliest stage.

If you notice any of the following symptoms, even if you are not feeling ill, its better to get it checked early.  If you have tried self-care for 3 weeks and your symptoms do not improve then please speak to your GP or Nurse. (Contact us on AskmyGP).

  • a persistent change in bowel habit – pooing more often, with looser, runnier poos and sometimes tummy (abdominal) pain
  • blood in the poo without other symptoms of piles (haemorrhoids) – this makes it unlikely the cause is haemorrhoids
  • abdominal pain, discomfort or bloating always brought on by eating – sometimes resulting in a reduction in the amount of food eaten and weight loss

Constipation, where you pass harder stools less often, is rarely caused by serious bowel conditions.

Most people with these symptoms do not have bowel cancer but better to rule it out!

Your GP/Nurse will probably ask you to do a FIT test as part of an early investigation before referring you to a specialist.  This is an easy test to do and can detect blood in your poo that you wouldnt see with the naked eye.  Click this link for more information and  instructions 

The FIT test is also used for the national Bowel Cancer Screening Programme where people aged 60 to 74 will be contacted by the BCS hub.  Its really important to do this test in addition to the test that your GP/Nurse may ask you to do.