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Bowel cancer symptoms Deborah James wanted us to know about

today30 June 2022 1

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The work of Dame Deborah James will be a lasting legacy to the campaigner, who died of bowel cancer earlier this week (June 28). Striving to raise awareness of the disease, she was one of the inspirational podcast hosts of BBC’s You, Me, and the Big C, a former deputy head teacher, and fundraiser – as we write the Bowelbabe Fund has smashed its original target of £250,000 to clock up over £7m for Cancer Research UK.

But at the heart of it all Deborah James, who died aged just 40, wanted everyone to know what to look for and to “smash those poo taboos”. So, with the ‘bowel babe’ in mind, and with the help of NHS and Cancer Research UK, we outline what you need to know about bowel cancer as well as the symptoms you should be watching out for.

What to watch for…

There are a number of symptoms of bowel cancer. Things to watch out for include a change in your normal bowel habit or blood in your poo. However, these aren’t the only things you should be aware of, other symptoms are outlined below. However, remember, these things can also be symptoms for other conditions so it’s important to see your doctor if notice changes or you are worried.

READ MORE: ‘A beacon, lighting the way’ – Tributes pour in for Dame Deborah James

Bowel cancer, also called colorectal cancer, can start in the large bowel (colon cancer) or back passage (rectal cancer) says Cancer Research UK. Symptoms, according to the organisations website, can include:

  • blood in your poo or bleeding from the back passage (rectum)
  • a change in your normal bowel habit, such as looser poo, pooing more often or constipation
  • a lump that your doctor can feel in your back passage or tummy (abdomen), more commonly on the right side
  • a feeling of needing to strain in your back passage (as if you need to poo), even after opening your bowels
  • losing weight
  • pain in your abdomen or back passage
  • tiredness and breathlessness caused by a lower than normal level of red blood cells (anaemia)

NHS says that you should see a GP if you have any of the symptoms of bowel cancer for 3 weeks of more. However, on its website it also states that in some cases, bowel cancer can stop digestive waste passing through the bowel. This is known as a bowel obstruction.

Symptoms of a bowel obstruction can include:

  • intermittent, and occasionally severe, abdominal pain – this is always brought on by eating
  • unintentional weight loss – with persistent abdominal pain
  • constant swelling of the tummy – with abdominal pain
  • being sick – with constant abdominal swelling

A bowel obstruction is a medical emergency. If you suspect your bowel is obstructed go to the accident and emergency (A&E) department of your nearest hospital.

Deborah James’ final message continued to strive for awareness and hope. She said: “Find a life worth enjoying; take risks; love deeply; have no regrets; and always, always have rebellious hope. And finally, check your poo – it could just save your life.”

If you are worried or have symptoms of bowel cancer visit your GP. More information about symptoms, diagnosis and treatment can be found on the NHS Website and Cancer Research UK’s website.

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Written by: thehitnetwork

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