Bowel cancer is often referred to as colon cancer or rectal cancer, and refers to a cancer that forms in the large bowel. It is the third most common cancer in the UK, and over 80% of cases are reported in the over 60s. The symptoms of bowel cancer are blood appearing in a person’s stools, alongside changes to a person’s normal bowel habits, pain in the stomach and weight loss. Though the causes are many, diet plays a strong part, with a diet rich in red and processed meat increasing that chance of developing bowel cancer by around 35%. Being overweight can also exacerbate the problem, as can smoking. If you are diagnosed with bowel cancer, the treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and biological therapy. The chance of successful treatment is linked to how advanced the cancer is, and how far it has spread. This makes early diagnosis important, so if you are over 60, or display any symptoms of bowel cancer, go to the NHS Bowel cancer Screening Programmme.
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