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Health

If you have lost this much weight recently it could be a sign of bowel cancer


Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer to be diagnosed in the UK, said the NHS.

Most people to be diagnosed with bowel cancer are over 60 years old, although younger people can develop the disease too.

Bowel cancer symptoms can be difficult to spot, and may not necessarily make you feel unwell.

One of the warning signs of the disease is weight loss, it said. But how much weight should you lose before seeing a doctor?

Unexplained weight loss could be caused by a number of medical conditions, including an overactive thyroid, heart disease, or some cancers.

Most people’s body weight fluctuates, but the unintentional weight loss of more than five per cent of your body weight over six to 12 months should be seen by a doctor.

While weight loss isn’t one of the more common signs of bowel cancer, it should still be taken seriously, added charity Bowel Cancer UK.

“Bowel cancer is very treatable but the earlier it is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat,” said the charity.

“People whose cancer is diagnosed at an early stage have a much higher chance of successful treatment than those whose cancer has become more widespread.

“If you have any symptoms, don’t be embarrassed and don’t ignore them. Doctors are used to seeing lots of people with bowel problems.

“This is less common than some of the other symptoms. Speak to your GP if you have lost weight and you don’t know why.

“You may not feel like eating if you feel sick, bloated or if you just don’t feel hungry.”

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You should especially consider seeing a doctor if your weight loss is accompanied with tiredness, a loss of appetite, or a change in your toilet habits.

Other common warning signs of bowel cancer include bleeding from the bottom, finding blood in your poo, or having a persistent change to their bowel habits.

Any looser or more frequent stools could be a bowel cancer symptom.

Having a pain or lump in the stomach or extreme tiredness could also be signs of the condition, said the charity.

Almost 90 per cent of all bowel cancer cases in the UK are in people over 60 years old.

Being overweight, a smoker, or having a family history of bowel cancer could increase your risk.

Eating a diet that’s rich in processed meats, and low in fibre, could also raise your chances of bowel cancer, said the NHS.

More than 40,000 new cases of bowel cancer are diagnosed in the UK every year.



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