Symptoms of bowel cancer

The symptoms of bowel cancer can include:

  • Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
  • A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
  • A pain or lump in your tummy

Most people with these symptoms don’t have bowel cancer. Other health problems can cause similar symptoms. But if you have one or more of these, or if things just don’t feel right, go to see your GP.


Key symptoms:

Bleeding from the bottom or blood in your poo

Have you noticed bleeding from your bottom with no obvious reason such as local soreness, piles (haemorrhoids) or tears (anal fissures)? Have you tried over the counter remedies, but the condition has not improved?


A change in your bowel habit

Has your normal bowel habit changed? Are you going to the toilet more often or experiencing looser poo (diarrhoea). Do you have constipation, a feeling of fullness or incomplete emptying of your back passage after going to the toilet


Pain in your abdomen (tummy)

Do you have constant or intermittent pain anywhere in your abdomen? It may be linked to going to the toilet or it might come and go like cramps or colic.


Less common symptoms:

Unexplained tiredness, dizziness or breathlessness

Do you feel constantly tired, dizzy or breathless? Are you looking paler than usual? These may be signs of anaemia (low iron levels in your blood).


Unexplained weight loss

Have you lost weight without dieting, maybe due to reduced appetite, feeling bloated or sick?


Most people with these symptoms DO NOT have bowel cancer, but your GP will certainly want to examine you and may refer you or do further tests to rule it out.


Please see Talking to your GP for more information.