If you've had blood in your poo or looser poo for the last three weeks, tell your doctor. Chances are it's nothing serious, but you're not wasting anyone's time by getting it checked out. Call your GP today.
Some symptoms may be caused by other conditions, such as haemorrhoids (piles), which may still need treatment. But don't try to diagnose yourself. Go and see your doctor now to find out for sure.
Blood in your poo or looser poo can be a sign of bowel cancer, which is why it's so important to see your doctor straight away. Early detection makes it easier to treat. Seeing your doctor could save your life.
I’m glad I didn't leave it any longer before going to my doctor.
Lester Marriott, aged 61
Blood in your poo or looser poo is a common sign of bowel cancer, but other symptoms include:
If you have any of these symptoms, see your GP as soon as possible. If you know anyone who has any of these symptoms, insist they see their doctor.
You're not wasting anyone's time by getting your symptoms checked out, and your mind will be put at rest if it's not serious.
At your appointment, your GP will ask you about your symptoms and they may carry out a rectal examination. This involves putting a gloved finger inside your bottom (rectum).
There's no need to feel embarrassed or nervous: it's a quick and painless procedure that GPs are used to doing. The examination usually takes one to five minutes, depending on whether your GP finds anything unusual.
You may be referred to a hospital or specialist clinic if further examinations and tests are needed.
Find out what to expect when you see your doctor – watch the video.
Bowel cancer is England's fourth most common cancer, with around 34,000 new cases each year.
Bowel cancer affects both men and women. Most people diagnosed with the disease are over 50, and those with a family history of bowel cancer are more at risk. The sooner a patient is diagnosed, the better their chances of successful treatment.
If you are aged 60–74, you'll be sent a bowel screening home testing kit every two years. If you are aged 74 or over, you can request a kit by phoning 0800 707 60 60.
The screening kits can help detect bowel cancer early, before you have any symptoms. The kits can also detect polyps, which can be easily removed. Polyps aren't cancers, but in some cases they can develop into cancer.
A healthy lifestyle can help you reduce your risk of bowel cancer. Some ways to stay healthy are:
For more information on how to reduce your risk of cancer, visit nhs.uk/reduce-your-risk.
Content last reviewed: June 2016