Symptoms, risks and screening

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Do you know the symptoms?

Knowing the signs of Colorectal Cancer makes an early diagnosis possible, and a better outcome more likely.

The main symptoms of Colorectal Cancer are:

A change in bowel habits that lasts for more than a few days (diarrhoea, constipation or a feeling that the bowel has not emptied completely)
Frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness, abdominal cramps
Stools that are narrower than usual
Weight loss for no known reason
Blood (either bright red or very dark) in the stool
Feeling very tired (weakness and fatigue)
Rectal bleeding with bright red blood
Less frequent but important to have checked - lower back pain

People with Colorectal Cancer may experience one, some, all or none of the symptoms listed above.

It is important to remember that none of these symptoms confirm Colorectal Cancer by themselves. So if you do experience these symptoms, don’t panic… but do talk to your doctor.

Reducing the risk

If you don’t have symptoms of Colorectal Cancer, you should still make healthy decisions that will greatly reduce your risk of Colorectal Cancer in the future… and many other illnesses and health problems besides!

All of the following will reduce your risk of developing Colorectal Cancer:

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Not smoking

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Avoiding alcohol

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Eating less red meat

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Avoiding processed meat

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Maintaining a healthy weight

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Eating more fruit and vegetables

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Exercising regularly

These health tips are also immensely beneficial in maintaining a healthy heart and lungs.

Reducing the Risks and Screening – Time to test?

Regular Colorectal Cancer screening is important because many people affected by the disease do not have symptoms for several years. Most cases of Colorectal Cancer occur in people over the age of 50 years so screening is recommended for this age group.

If you answer ‘yes’ to any one of the following questions, you should talk to your doctor about Colorectal Cancer screening.

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Are you over 50?

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Do you have a family history of Colorectal Cancer?

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Do you currently have any of the symptoms of Colorectal Cancer?

Screening programmes differ from country to country across Europe.

Please contact your local patient organisation to learn how screening for Colorectal Cancer is managed in your country, and how you can access it. Why not contact them today while you’re here?

Digestive Cancers Europe

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