Bowel cancer - Symptoms 

Signs and symptoms of bowel cancer 

Early bowel cancer may have no symptoms and some symptoms of later bowel cancer can also occur in people with less serious medical problems, such as haemorrhoids (piles).

See your doctor if you notice any of the symptoms below.

The initial symptoms of bowel cancer include:

  • blood in your stools (faeces) or bleeding from your rectum
  • a change to your normal bowel habits that persists for more than three weeks, such as diarrhoeaconstipation or passing stools more frequently than usual
  • abdominal pain 
  • unexplained weight loss

As bowel cancer progresses, it can sometimes cause bleeding inside the bowel. Eventually, this can lead to your body not having enough red blood cells. This is known as anaemia.

Symptoms of anaemia include:

  • fatigue
  • breathlessness

In some cases, bowel cancer can cause an obstruction in the bowel. Symptoms of a bowel obstruction include:

  • a feeling of bloating, usually around the belly button
  • abdominal pain
  • constipation
  • vomiting

When to seek medical advice

See your GP if you have any of the symptoms above. While the symptoms are unlikely to be the result of bowel cancer, these types of symptoms always need to be investigated further.

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Page last reviewed: 29/08/2012

Next review due: 29/08/2014


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The 4 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

daisayrose said on 23 July 2013

Thanks for providing useful information about bowel cancer and its symptoms. As you said that initial symptoms may not be serious but later they can cause to serious health problems. These days most of the people are getting this type of colon problems due to lack of exercises and poor dietary habits. People are unable to maintaining proper diet habits and physical workouts because of their busy schedules. But we need take care of our colon to avoid this type of problems by taking fiber in diet, vegetables, juices and regular exercises.

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JuanitaFrapp said on 23 July 2013

Thanks for sharing useful information. Actually I am not aware of bowel cancer symptoms and signs after reading your blog I got a good knowledge about bowel cancer symptoms. Many people are aware of how to find the symptoms in early stage. If possible please suggest us how to prevent bowel cancer with proper diet. That would be additional information for me once again thanks a lot.

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CytheriaUrs said on 18 July 2013

First of all I am very thankful to the author of this post for giving such valid information about bowel cancer, really it's worthy. Most of the people not aware of the bowel cancer and these symptoms so they might be consider the above symptoms just like small health issues and ignoring in their busy work schedules. I hope this info helpful to so many persons to identify the bowel cancer in earlier stage.
Thank You.

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amcunningham said on 05 April 2011

You could also add the CRUK info
and the Map of Medicine pathyway

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