Symptoms of bowel cancer

Common signs and symptoms of bowel cancer include:

  • blood in your bowel  motions (this may look like red blood or black bowel motions)
  • a change in bowel habit (particularly a tendency to looser or more frequent bowel motions)
  • diarrhoea, constipation or feeling that your bowel does not empty completely
  • general abdominal discomfort (frequent gas pains, bloating or cramps)
  • unexplained weight loss
  • tiredness
  • anaemia.

Bowel symptoms that last for more than six weeks should be checked by your doctor.

Most people with bowel symptoms do not have bowel cancer. However, these symptoms are important and may need diagnosis and treatment. If you are experiencing them, you should discuss these with your doctor without delay.

When you are diagnosed with bowel cancer, you may also be concerned about your family/whānau’s risk of bowel cancer. You can ask your doctor whether your family/whānau members are at increased risk of bowel cancer, and what they should do
about it. Anyone with new bowel symptoms that are worrying,or that last more than six weeks, should see their doctor.