Bowel cancer

Bowel cancer is also known as colorectal cancer or cancer of the colon or rectum. This is because the rectum and colon make up the large bowel.

Bowel cancer is a relatively common form of cancer and is the third most common in the UK.

Screening for bowel cancer is recommended. You can discuss this with your consultant.

Symptoms of bowel cancer

Symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Blood when passing stool - this may be bright red or dark red
  • Abdominal (tummy) pain
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue (tiredness) caused by anaemia which can also lead to breathlessness
  • Abnormal bowel habits (constipation or diarrhoea) or the feeling of not sufficiently having emptied your bowel after passing stool

Some colorectal cancers can cause a blockage in the bowel. This can cause the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal (tummy) pain and or bloating
  • Constipation
  • Being sick (vomiting)

*Information provided by Macmillan cancer support

At The Christie, the colorectal and peritoneal oncology centre treat bowel cancers.

Last updated: March 2023