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Bowel cancer symptoms: 'Elongated' poo could be a warning sign

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Bowel cancer is a general term for cancer that begins in the large bowel – a part of the digestive system that includes the colon and rectum. According to Dr Naureen Starling, Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden, each year there are over 42,000 new cases of bowel cancer in the UK and the disease affects similar numbers of men and women, with most diagnosed over 50.

How to respond

“Knowing the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer can be life-saving as, the earlier the disease is detected, the more likely treatment is to be successful,” said Dr Starling.

“It’s vital anyone experiencing unusual or persistent changes in their bowel habit gets checked by their GP.”

How is bowel cancer treated?

Treatment for bowel cancer will depend on which part of your bowel is affected and how far the cancer has spread.

According to the NHS, surgery is usually the main treatment for bowel cancer, and may be combined with chemotherapy, radiotherapy or biological treatments, depending on your particular case.

Many studies have shown that eating lots of red and processed meat increases the risk of bowel cancer.

Obesity is a risk factor for developing bowel cancer.

According to Cancer Research UK, it is estimated that 11 out of 100 bowel cancers (11 percent) in the UK are linked to being overweight or obese.

Obesity means being very overweight with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher.

“The risk of bowel cancer is higher in people who are obese compared to those who have a healthy BMI,” warns Cancer Research UK.

Other risk factors include:

  • Family history
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Inactivity.



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