Bowel cancer can be cured completely when caught early. The cancer usually develops from a small polyp or a protrusion in the bowel usually the size of a small pea. Polyps are benign structures; in other words they are not cancers. In the majority of patients, polyps lie in the bowel quietly for years without causing any symptoms. During this time they grow slowly and then turn into cancers.
Patients with polyps and early cancers are often unaware of them as they do not feel any warning signs.
Yes. There are several tests that have been devised to identify and check patients for these abnormalities. These are called screening tests.
These tests have been designed so that they can be used in patients with minimal discomfort and inconvenience. There are two tests currently available.
Certain risk factors are known to increase a person's chances of developing bowel cancer.
Usually, you start with the £50 haemoccult stool test. If this is positive, colonoscopy will be recommended.
For the haemoccult stool test you do not have to be in hospital. Simply follow the clear instructions on the packet and return in the prepaid envelope provided. As for colonoscopy, this requires half a day in hospital after which you will be able to go home.
The result of the stool test will be posted to you and a copy sent to your general practitioner. If it is positive, your doctor will decide whether to refer you to our consultant colorectal specialists or to a consultant of his/her choice to carry out the colonoscopy. You will be able to know the result of the colonoscopy on the same day.
You will be advised of this at the time of posting the result of the stool test or after the colonoscopy.
Bowel cancer or colorectal cancer is the second commonest cancer in England and Wales. Approximately 34,000 patients develop the disease and nearly half die each year. Bowel symptoms such as:
may be warning signs of a possible problem in the bowel. These symptoms can be caused by a number of conditions - such as flu, inflammation but also can be caused by cancer. Any persistence of these symptoms should be reported to your doctor without delay so that appropriate investigations are performed.
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