Bowel Cancer Awareness Month – do you recognise the symptoms?

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, an opportunity to raise awareness about bowel cancer, led by Bowel Cancer UK.

Bowel cancer can be treated and cured if diagnosed early.

Being aware of the possible symptoms and signs of bowel cancer can help increase the chances of an early diagnosis and could save your life.

The symptoms of bowel cancer can include:

  • Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
  • A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit such as loose poo, pooing more often or constipation
  • Needing to strain when you have already opened your bowels
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Feeling breathless and/or tired for no obvious reason
  • A pain or lump in your tummy or back passage

Dr Debbie Harvey, clinical lead for cancer at NHS South Sefton CCG said:

“Keeping an eye out for any of these symptoms could help us spot bowel cancer earlier. Although most people with these symptoms don't have bowel cancer, it’s best to be safe and get them checked out. This is important even if you have had a recent negative bowel screening test “

Dr Graeme Allan, clinical lead for cancer at NHS Southport and Formby CCG said:

“If you develop one or more of these symptoms make an appointment to discuss them with your GP.“

“If you are also eligible for bowel cancer screening, make sure you complete your home test every two years when it gets sent out to you.”


Bowel cancer screening

Bowel cancer screening checks if you could have bowel cancer. It's available to everyone aged 60 or over currently and in the near future include people from the age of 50yrs too.

Bowel cancer screening can save lives. Screening aims to detect bowel cancer at an early stage, when treatment has the best chance of working. The test can also find polyps (non-cancerous growths), which might develop into cancer.

If you're registered with a GP and aged between 60 and 74, you'll be invited to take part in bowel cancer screening every two years by the NHS.

The screening programme uses home test kits, which look for hidden blood in poo. A test kit will be automatically posted to you, so you can complete it in the privacy of your own home. Make sure your GP has your correct address, so your kit is posted to the right place.


For more information on bowel cancer, including symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment, visit the NHS website:

For more information about Bowel Cancer Awareness Month visit