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Bowel cancer symptoms: Losing weight unexpectedly? The sign you may have the disease

A bowel cancer diagnosis can come as a bit of a shock for the person affected – and their loved ones. Somebody can be looking really well, but shifting excess weight isn’t always a reason to celebrate.

If you, or someone you know, has been shedding the pounds without even trying, this could be a sign of the disease.

According to the charity Bowel Cancer UK, unexplained weight loss is one symptom of bowel cancer.

Bowel cancer, otherwise known as colorectal cancer, affects the colon and rectum.


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Cells in that part of the body reproduce at an uncontrollable rate, amassing into a cancerous tumour.

This happens because one too many genetic mutations have occurred.

Relatively common, Bowel Cancer UK reported that it’s the fourth most diagnosed cancer in Britain.

Reassuringly, the charity added: “Nearly everyone survives bowel cancer if diagnosed at the earliest stage.”

Unexplained weight loss is one of the earliest symptoms of the disease.

So if you, a friend or relative are losing weight without trying, do arrange a call with the GP.

Those experiencing unexplained weight loss may not feel like eating, suffer from bloating and can feel nauseous.

Other early symptoms of the disease include extreme fatigue for no obvious reason and a pain or lump in the stomach.

Additionally, pay attention to your bowel habits – have you found yourself persistently straining or letting loose far too often?

The key here is to identify whether the change in bowel habits have become persistent and can’t be pin-pointed to a specific cause.

And is there any bleeding from your backside? This is a warning sign too.

Certain risk factors increase a person’s susceptibility for developing bowel cancer.


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For those leading an unhealthy lifestyle, you’re more at risk of developing the disease.

Another factor is a history of non-cancerous growths, called polyps, in your bowel.

Most bowel cancers develop from polyps, but bear in mind that not all polyps develop into cancer.

One other risk factor you can’t control is your age. Those over 50 are at higher risk.

Other health conditions can also make you more vulnerable to bowel cancer.

Bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis intensify the risk.

Suffering from type 2 diabetes also makes an individual more susceptible to the disease.

Finally, any family history of bowel cancer increases a person’s chances of developing it themselves.

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