Bowel cancer: Dr Hilary outlines the main symptoms
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Like all forms of cancer, the prognosis for bowel cancer significantly improves the earlier it’s detected. This makes symptom awareness front and centre. Kelli Zanelato didn’t hesitate to visit her GP when she started needing the loo more often aged just 35.
While you might not pay too much attention to your bowel habits, being aware of your stools could mean the difference between spotting bowel cancer and letting it slide.
The position of a bowel cancer tumour causes symptoms to strike when you go for a number two.
Kelli knows this all too well, as her first symptom was frequent trips to the loo.
Kelli, from London, told Bowel Cancer UK: “My journey started two years ago in August 2020 when I was diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer.
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“I knew something had changed as I was going to the toilet many times a day.
“I went to the GP, but it was dismissed as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
“Over a three-month period, I went back and forth to the GP and they referred me for all different types of tests and scans.
“Everything came back normal, but I was fed up of making frequent trips to the loo.”
According to the NHS, frequent trips to the loo are one of the telltale signs of bowel cancer.
Other similar symptoms include blood in your poo, changes in your bowel habit such as loose stools.
Kelli eventually asked her GP for a colonoscopy referral, which revealed “aggressive” bowel cancer.
The mum said: “I was only 35, my whole life came crashing down – at that time my little boy was only 18 months.”
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While Kelly only spoke about frequent bowel movements, other bowel cancer symptoms to be aware of include:
- Persistent lower abdominal (tummy) pain
- Bloating or discomfort (always caused by eating)
- Loss of appetite
- Unintentional weight loss.
The mum had to undergo surgery and chemotherapy but sadly her cancer returned.
“To make the news so much worse, it was spreading very fast to my ovaries, uterus, colon, rectum, gallbladder, and spleen,” she said.
While Kelli keeps battling cancer, she hasn’t lost her positive attitude and a fighting spirit.
The woman added: “My latest PET scan showed another new node, but I’m not giving up.
“I’m here to tell you that no matter how hard life is, you can always fight back. It makes you unique. It’s certainly made me appreciate life more and be grateful for the little things.
“No matter what you’re facing, have faith and live your life today without worrying about the future.”
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