Need more information? Please use the following frequently asked questions for general guidance. For concerns specific to you, please speak to your GP.
The large bowel is a long pipe in the digestive system just below the tummy. It absorbs water and nutrients from food and passes waste out of the body as poo.
Bowel cancer is a disease caused when bowel cells multiply out of control and form a lump called a tumour. The tumour cells can spread to other parts of the body.
Most people survive bowel cancer that remain in the bowel if they’re treated at this early stage. But if cells are given time to spread to other parts of the body, the chance of survival reduces significantly.
No. People with haemorrhoids are as likely to get bowel cancer as anyone else. If you have blood in your poo – even if you have haemorrhoids – always check with your GP.
Yes. Screening tests help to detect bowel cancer early, before you have symptoms and can even prevent you getting bowel cancer in the first place. See our section on bowel screening.
If you are concerned about your family history or risk of developing bowel cancer, you should see your GP. If your doctor agrees that you have a strong family history, they will probably refer you to a specialist genetics service. This service will look into your background closely by talking through your family history and asking detailed questions about your family's health and illnesses. You may have blood tests as part of this investigation.
Yes. Bowel cancer is a very common type of cancer and over half of cases are caused by lifestyle risks that you can control. These include eating too much red and processed meat, having a large waist size, not eating enough fibre and drinking too much alcohol. How much is too much of any of these things? You can find out more at www.nhs.uk by searching for ‘bowel cancer’.