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Bowel cancer symptoms

1-minute read

Bowel cancer can develop with few, if any, early warning symptoms. Symptoms of bowel cancer can include:

  • bleeding from the rectum or any sign of blood after a bowel motion
  • a recent and persistent change in bowel habit, for example looser bowel motions
  • constipation or needing to go to the toilet more than usual
  • unexplained tiredness
  • anaemia (lack of haemoglobin in your blood)
  • abdominal pain, bloating or cramping
  • feeling of incomplete emptying
  • thin bowel movements
  • pain in the anus or rectum
  • a lump in the anus or rectum
  • weight loss

People with symptoms of bowel cancer should consult their doctor for clinical diagnosis and advice as soon as possible, even if no blood is detected in their faecal occult blood test (FOBT).

If a person has rectal bleeding, do they have bowel cancer?

Not necessarily. There are many causes of rectal bleeding. However, symptoms of bowel cancer, including rectal bleeding should be discussed with a doctor as soon as possible so that the cause of bleeding can be found.

Last reviewed: May 2018

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