Bowel Cancer Symptoms in Men and Women
The bowel is a part of the body’s digestive system, connecting the anus to the stomach and functioning as a passage way for waste materials to be expelled from the body. As food passes through the bowel, it is digested, with nutrients and water from the food absorbed. The bowel is made up of three parts: the small bowel (where nutrients are mainly absorbed from digested food), the colon (where water is mainly absorbed from the digested food), and the rectum (where waste material is stored until it is ready to be passed through the anus. Together, the rectum and the colon are referred to as the large bowel.
Bowel cancer symptoms that arise are mainly observed in the large bowel. There are also small bowel cancer symptoms but they are very rare. Where bowel cancer symptoms are present, you might be dealing with bowel cancer. However, keep in mind that you might just also be dealing with irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. Just because bowel cancer symptoms have manifested, this does not automatically mean that you are looking at bowel cancer. The best way though to rule out whether or not you’re just looking at irritable bowel syndrome or whatever bowel disorders are there is to pay your doctor a visit.
You should arrange for a visit to your doctor when you start experiencing bowel cancer symptoms. Some of the bowel cancer symptoms that you have to watch out for include: bleeding from your rectum or any sign that there was bleeding after a bowel movement; a persistent and recent change in your bowel movements (for instance, looser than usual bowel motions), more frequent bowel movements and/or severe constipation; abdominal pains; and unexplained fatigue.
Like other cancers, bowel cancer can be successfully treated when bowel cancer symptoms are addressed early enough. Unfortunately, less than 40% of bowel cancer cases are detected early enough. Also like other cancers, there’s really no way of completely preventing bowel cancer from happening. However, regular exercise, a proper diet, and a generally healthy lifestyle is believed to be capable of preventing up to 75% of bowel cancer cases.
Risks for bowel cancer increases as people age so particular care must be taken when bowel cancer symptoms manifest and you’re aged 50 years old and up. Those with family histories of bowel cancer, those who previously had polyps known as adenomas, and those who have inflammatory bowel diseases are also at higher risk.