Trust Your Gut – Bowel Cancer Awareness Month 2024.

April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, and is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the warning signs of bowel cancer and how you, and your loved ones, can know what to look out for. There is no limit for how much awareness can be spread, and it can even save your life.

Bowel cancer can affect anyone - regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or demographics. Although it is more common in those over 50, cancer doesn’t discriminate and people under 50 can still be at risk. The risk of developing bowel cancer can be more common in those with a family history, particularly if you have a first degree relative i.e. a parent, sibling or child who has been diagnosed with bowel cancer. It is therefore important that you inform your GP if anyone in your family has had, or has, bowel cancer. If there is a family history of bowel cancer, you may be offered bowel screening, or a colonoscopy, to reduce or manage the risk. Taking action can mean that the cancer is detected at an early stage, making it more likely to be treatable.

Bowel cancer is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer, but it doesn’t need to be. In fact, nine out of 10 people survive bowel cancer when they are diagnosed at the earliest stage. This is why, if you are concerned or are experiencing any symptoms, you should contact your GP straight away and you can even ask for a simple test to do at home.

The Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) is a home test which looks for small amount of blood in your poo, and can help the GP decide whether to refer you for further tests. This test can detect cancer at a very early stage - even before symptoms develop - and can really make the difference in your diagnosis and treatment.

What signs should you be looking out for?

Here are some common bowel cancer symptoms:

  • Bleeding from your back passage or blood in your poo.
  • Changes in your bowel habits.
  • A lump felt by your doctor in your back passage or abdomen, commonly on the right side.
  • Feeling the need to strain, even after opening your bowels.
  • Unplanned weight loss
  • Pain in your back passage or abdomen.
  • Tiredness and breathlessness caused by a lower level of blood cells (anaemia).

Not everyone will experience the same symptoms, therefore it is important to be aware of any changes. You know your body better than anyone and know what feels right to you.

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the symptoms above, or anything that doesn’t feel normal to you, it is important to go and visit your GP.

Why is awareness necessary?

Awareness is so important to educate people in knowing what signs to look out for. There are so many social media posts from people telling their own stories and the symptoms that they perhaps didn’t pay much attention to and thought nothing of, which then turned out to be cancer. They urge people to look out for certain warning signs and to not make the mistakes they did in ignoring them.

It is understandable that talking about your toilet habits can be uncomfortable and even embarrassing, but please be reassured that your GP will be understanding, and they are used to talking about these things. Even if it really is nothing, it is always better to be safe than sorry – always trust your gut!

The role of clinical negligence solicitors

If you or a loved one has experienced delays, or had a missed diagnosis of bowel cancer which has impacted your life, seeking legal advice is crucial. Although the thought of seeking legal advice can be daunting, and we understand that, clinical negligence claims can help you access compensation for pain, suffering, loss of income and funding for medical care and rehabilitation.

You can find out more information on and

And, if you wish to speak to a member of our Clinical Negligence Team, please do not hesitate to reach out.

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