Bowel cancer warning – do you poo like this? The toilet sign you shouldn’t ignore
Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers to be diagnosed in the UK, according to the NHS. It’s a general term for any cancer that develops in the large bowel, and it may sometimes be known as colon or rectal cancer. The early warning signs of bowel cancer can be very subtle, and many people may not be aware that they’re at risk. But, one of the warning signs of bowel cancer is trying to pass a stool, but not being able to.
Some people with bowel cancer go to use the toilet, but find they can’t pass a stool, according to Regional Cancer Care Associates.
It could be caused by the tumour growing in the rectum, and physically blocking the poo from passing.
If you often struggle to pass a stool, it may be worth speaking to a doctor, it urged.
“Colon [bowel] cancer is often diagnosed at a later stage than many other common cancers simply because symptoms do not manifest when the disease is in early stages,” it said.
“However, any persistent, unexplained changes in your health should always be reported to your physician.
“More common symptoms of colon cancer can include a change in bowel habits lasting multiple weeks, and a change in the consistency of your stool.
“Pain in your rectum or the urge to have a bowel movement without producing one could be a sign that a tumour is growing in the rectum and causing stool to become trapped.
“While your symptoms are likely due to a non-cancerous cause, always be diligent about any changes in your normal health.”
You could also be at risk of the condition if your poo looks like black tar, or bloody, it added.
Black-coloured stools could be caused by bleeding higher up in the bowel, and it may have a slight red-coloured tinge.
But, bright red poo is unlikely to be caused by bowel cancer, and is more likely to be caused by haemorrhoids.
Other bowel cancer symptoms include unexplained weight loss, a painful lump in your stomach and persistent tiredness.
It’s also important to notice any change to your bowel habits. You may develop looser stools than normal, or you may need to poo more often than normal.
If your changing toilet habits lasts for at least four weeks, you should consider speaking to a doctor, said the NHS.
But, most people with these symptoms don’t have bowel cancer. They’re more likely to be caused by something less serious, including constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, or Crohn’s disease.
More than 40,000 new cases of bowel cancer are diagnosed in the UK every year.