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Life’s too short to be embarrassed

Last Updated: 17 January 2019








Life’s too short to be embarrassed

Bowel cancer is the second biggest cause of cancer deaths, yet many of these deaths could be preventing by spotting symptoms early. In fact, when diagnosis is made early, before it has had a chance to spread, bowel cancer can be cured in over 90% of cases.

Reduce your risk by being aware of the symptoms and contact your health professional if you notice any of the following:


1. Blood with your bowel motions and going more frequently to the loo to pass softer, looser poo. If this persists for more than 6 weeks it should be investigated at any age. 


2. Persistent rectal bleeding. In people over the age of 50, this should be investigated using a ‘flexi sig’. This is a short 5 minute examination by your doctor. In people below 50, if there are no other reasons like pile symptoms or constipation and if it persists for 6 weeks it should be investigated by your doctor.  


3. Going more frequently to pass softer/looser poo for more than 6 weeks without bleeding. 


4. Iron deficiency anaemia found in a blood test done by your doctor. All men and women after the menopause - should be investigated by colonoscopy if there is no obvious cause for the iron deficiency anaemia. 


5. Lump in tummy or bottom felt by doctor.  Ask your GP or health professional to check as you may not be able to feel it! 


It’s important to remember that the symptoms of bowel cancer can be subtle but don’t be embarrassed about visiting your doctor straight away if you have any of the above symptoms.



Written by Ruth Tongue

(MSc Nutrition)

1. https://bowel-cancer.canceraustralia.gov.au/statistics
2. http://www.bowelcancer.tv/info.aspx?id=626

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