April 2022 is Bowel Cancer awareness month and Bowel Cancer UK is campaigning for early diagnoses and treatment. Every 15 minutes a person is diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK which is approximately 43,000 people each year. This year Bowel Cancer UK´s message is, “together we can raise more awareness and support for people affected by the disease. Together we are strong. Together we can save more lives”.

Here, we examine information about bowel cancer, the symptoms, data, testing, and ongoing research on it. We will advise you on ways to check your health and well-being frequently to protect your long-term health.

Bowelcanceruk.org.uk, the UK´s leading bowel cancer charity, created a video to be shared to raise awareness about bowel cancer. This video continues with personal stories from bowel cancer sufferers and shows just how crucial it is to be diagnosed early.

What is bowel cancer?

Bowel cancer is a cancer that begins in the large bowel (colon) and your back passage also known as your rectum. It is also called colorectal cancer. Your treatment depends on where the cancer starts in your bowel.

What are the symptoms of bowel cancer?

Early stages of bowel cancer may not display symptoms. The problems usually begin after it has spread. It is so important to have regular testing, especially if you have a family medical history of cancer.

Based on where the tumour is, the symptoms of bowel cancer include the following:

  • Changes in bowel movements such as constipation and diarrhoea that does not go away
  • Cramping in your rectum
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Feeling like you cannot empty your bowels completely or you urgently need to poop
  • Bloating or belly discomfort
  • Dark patches of blood in or on your stool
  • Long, thin, stringy “pencil stools”
  • Fatigue
  • Pelvic pain
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss with no clear cause
  • Anaemia (an unusually low number of red blood cells due to bleeding in your intestines)

Many things can cause these symptoms so never assume that you have something minor such as haemorrhoids, also known as piles. Regular testing will help give you peace of mind or allow you to get treatment if required.

How does the Better2Know Bowel Cancer test work?

The Better2Know Bowel Cancer Test requires a stool sample, where a Quantitative Faecal Immunochemical Test (qFIT) is run on your sample. The qFIT test will detect hidden or ‘occult’ blood in your sample.

Why is a qFIT test so important?

Bowel cancer is the 4th most common cancer in the UK and the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK.  This is because it is often detected at a late stage, but survival rates are vastly improved with early diagnosis. It is important because the risk of having bowel cancer rises considerably from age of 50-54 years.

The qFIT test can be used as a primary screening test targeted at people who have no symptoms, or as a test to guide the management of individuals who have symptoms.

Current research on bowel cancer in England

Professor Eva Morris at the University of Oxford is doing research on reducing the rates of undetected bowel cancers in England.  A colonoscopy is the main test used to diagnose bowel cancer, but it is not always able to identify every case of the disease. Recent research has shown there are a high number of undetected cancers in England and there are big differences between hospitals.

Professor Morris and her team will look at data from hospitals in England to pinpoint where bowel cancers went undetected during a colonoscopy. Her aim is to increase knowledge on how to improve colonoscopy services. This means more people can be diagnosed at an early stage or have pre-cancerous growths removed before the cancer develops.

What are the bowel cancer statistics in the UK?

According to Cancer Research UK, here are the statistics on bowel cancer in the UK:

statistics on bowel cancer in the UK

As you can see only 53% of people survived bowel cancer for 10 or more years in England between 2013 and 2017. Between 2016 and 2018 there were 16,571 deaths from bowel cancer in the UK. There could be no stronger reason with this data that you obtain early and regular testing resulting in a timely diagnosis and treatment.

How you can check your health with Better2Know

Better2Know can assist you in taking care of your overall health. We offer a Bowel Cancer Test which has been created to detect signs of possible bowel cancer.

We offer many Health and Wellness Tests such as our Senior Female Wellness Test, and Senior Male Wellness Test, both of which include a Bowel Cancer screening test. These tests look at several key health issues in women and men aged 60 or over. We also provide a Well Woman Screen and Well Man Screen which have been designed by medical experts and is a comprehensive health check to evaluate several factors which can be affecting your general health. These tests can be taken in the comfort of your own home.

Better2Know is also the world´s leading provider in sexual health testing. If you are worried about your sexual health including STIs and HIV, then speak with one of our highly trained personal advisors confidentially today by phone or live chat.

Our team is here to help you 24 hours a day, seven days a week to obtain peace of mind about your health. We can arrange discreet testing at a clinic near you, a private nurse visit, or you can order a convenient home test kit.


[1] Bowelcanceruk.org.uk: Bowel cancer awareness month

[2] Bowelcanceruk.org.uk: Reducing the rates of undetected bowel cancers in England

[3] Image: Cancer Research UK

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