Bowel Cancer: Symptoms in Women and Factors to Reduce it

'One in 18 women has been diagnosed with bowel cancer, but nearly everyone diagnosed at the earliest stage will survive. However, this drops significantly as the disease develops'.

Bowel Cancer: Symptoms in Women and Factors to Reduce it
Bowel cancer

Bowel cancer is a general term for cancer that begins in the large bowel. Depending on where the cancer starts, bowel cancer is sometimes called colon or rectal cancer. Cancer can sometimes start in the small bowel (small intestine), but small bowel cancer is much rarer than large bowel cancer.


Symptoms of Bowel Cancer:


Seeing blood in your bowel movements

A speck of bright red blood on your paper post-wipe is likely a small haemorrhoid or harmless fissure.

Blood isn't always visible with bowel cancer: 'Blood can also be discovered on a microscopic level through bowel cancer screening tests, so if you have a few other symptoms but no blood in your stool, you need to still look out for it. 


Visiting of bathroom Occasionally 

Everyone gets constipated occasionally, but prolonged problems pooing can indicate a blockage in the bowel. That’s because at the beginning of the colon, your poo is soft and can manoeuvre around any obstacles in the way.

But it's not just constipation: Diarrhoea that lasts more than a few days should also set off warning bells as a bowel cancer symptom in women.



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Always dealing with cramps or bloating

Most times we feel full or bloated after a big meal, but if you constantly feel like your stomach never empties out all the way (like, you never feel relief after a big one), it's time to see your doctor or a gastroenterologist.

This also goes for chronic, abdominal discomfort like bloating, cramps, or gas, especially if the pains are unfamiliar to you.


Your poo looks weird and pencil-thin

Size (and shape) definitely matter here: If there's something blocking your colon, your stool is forced into a narrow, ribbon-like shape to get past it. So if you look in the toilet and your poo looks kind of 'stringy,' know that's not normal and it's a safe bet to get checked out.


Sudden and severe stomach pains

Having severe stomach pain could be a warning sign of a bunch of things like appendicitis or gallstones, but it could also signal a bowel obstruction (when a tumour blocks food from digesting and passing out of the body).


Losing weight unintentionally

Low iron can be a bowel cancer symptom in women, stemming from blood loss in the digestive tract. 

You should also look out for Unexplained weight, If you’re not trying to lose weight, but you find yourself dropping pounds without explanation, your doctor definitely needs to know.


Occasionally treatment for 'irritable bowel syndrome 

The symptoms of IBS and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), for that matter—can often have similar symptoms to colorectal cancer (cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhoea, constipation). But if you're being treated for IBS and your symptoms aren't clearing up, it's importanti to address those concerns with your doctor.


How to reduce risk of Bowel cancer:

Factors thought to increase the risk of bowel cancer include smoking, drinking two or more alcoholic drinks per day, obesity, and excessive red meat, animal fat and sugar intake; while exercising and eating more fibre, dairy and pulses are all thought to decrease risk".