Bowel & Colorectal cancer
This type of cancer is most common in the over-60s, colorectal cancer symptoms including bleeding from the rectum or blood in the stools, changes in bowel habits, a lump or pain.
Many over-50s have polyps in the bowel which over time might develop into cancer; screening can detect these polyps which can then be removed.
A recent study found that colorectal cancer screening using sigmoidoscopy (a flexible tube inserted into the bowel) to detect polyps and then removing them reduced the incidence of bowel cancer by a third in the 55-64 age group*.
*Reference - Once-only flexible sigmoidoscopy screening in prevention of colorectal cancer: a multicentre randomised controlled trial, The Lancet, 2010
Bowel Cancer Awareness
Ramsay Health Care UK, alongside Consultant Surgeon Mr Gupta, have prepared an easy to use stool chart to assess if you have healthy faeces or if you need to consider visiting your GP for further investigations.
Colorectal Diagnosis & Treatment
Diagnosis of bowel or rectum cancer can include a barium enema, sigmoidoscopy, CT and MRI scans, and ultrasound.
Surgery to remove part of the bowel is often recommended for bowel cancer. Depending on how much is being removed you might need a colostomy or ileostomy where waste products are collected into a bag outside the body.
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are often used either before or after surgery - sometimes delivered in combination. A new form of radiotherapy called brachytherapy involves inserting radioactive materials into the rectum, close to the tumour.