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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Change in bowel habits, is this a symptom of bowel cancer?

    Hi, I'm a 45 year old female and have recently noticed changes in my bowel habits, I am going to the toilet more often and often have diarrhea on a regular basis. I havent changed my diet, should i be concerned?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Bowel Cancer Australia is the leading community-funded charity dedicated to prevention, early diagnosis, research, quality treatment and care for everyone affected by bowel cancer. We … View Profile

    Thank you for your question about change in bowel habits and bowel cancer.

    If you have noticed a change in your bowel habits, it does not mean that you have bowel cancer, but it would be recommended that you make an appointment to discuss those changes with your doctor. 

    Possible signs of bowel cancer include a change in bowel habit or blood in the stool.

    Other bowel cancer symptoms can include:

    • A recent, persistent change in bowel habit to looser, more diarrhoea-like motions, going to the toilet more often, or trying to go (i.e. irregularity in someone whose bowels have previously been regular)
    • Blood (either bright red or very dark) in the stool
    • Diarrhoea, constipation, or feeling that the bowel does not empty completely
    • Frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness or cramps
    • Stools that are narrower than usual
    • A lump or mass in your tummy
    • Weight loss for no known reason
    • Persistent, severe abdominal pain, which has come on recently for the first time
    • (especially in an older age group)
    • Feeling very tired
    • Vomiting

    If you have any of these symptoms, it does not mean that you have bowel cancer, but it is very important you discuss them with your doctor. 

    PLEASE REMEMBER: However old you are, you should never be told by your doctor that you are too young to have bowel cancer.  Whilst bowel cancer is more common in people aged 50+, bowel cancer increasingly affects all age groups.  If you have higher-risk symptoms, do not accept ‘you’re too young to have bowel cancer' as an explanation for your symptoms - ask your doctor to be referred for further investigations.

    Information taken from the Bowel Cancer Australia website www.bowelcanceraustralia.org

    More information on bowel cancer symptoms is available on the Bowel Cancer Australia website at Bowel Cancer: Symptoms - http://www.bowelcanceraustralia.org/bca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=141&Itemid=297

    Kind Regards,
    The team at Bowel Cancer Australia
    www.bowelcanceraustralia.org

    Please Note: The information provided by Bowel Cancer Australia’s Nurse and Nutritionist Advisory Services is intended for Australian residents as a reference guide only.  It is not a substitute for independent professional advice and is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or disorder.
     
    If you believe your symptoms are consistent with those of bowel cancer or a digestive illness, please consult your doctor.
     
    Bowel Cancer Australia, its directors, officers or medical professionals shall not be liable to any person, company or any other body for any loss, direct or indirect or consequential on whatsoever account for any omission or negligent misstatement.


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