A self-examination is crucial when it comes to detecting cancer as early as possible, according to a doctor.

Mr Ash Prabhudesai, Consultant Colorectal, Laparoscopic & General Surgeon at The Princess Grace Hospital, explained that you should check your breasts regularly to scan for a cancerous growth in this area. And you should pay the same attention when it comes to bowel cancer.

“It is important that one examines one’s stools every time before flushing the toilet to note any changes in consistency with or without blood,” the doctor said.

While looking into the toilet bowl after you just went for a number two might be the last thing you want to do, any unexplained changes in your poo could be important red flags.

Therefore, the expert recommended looking out for the following five warning signs of bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer.

1. Changes in your bowel habits

While your stools might get looser or harder from time to time, any unexplained and persistent changes should be checked by a healthcare professional, according to Mr Prabhudesai.

He said: “If you experience unexpected changes in your bowel habits, such as persistent diarrhoea, constipation, or noticeable shifts in stool appearance, it could be a signal of colorectal cancer.”

2. Needing the toilet more often

Another red flag sign of bowel cancer could become apparent in the number of trips you make to the loo.

People with the serious condition often experience more frequent bowel movements, prompting them to spend more time in the toilet.

3.Blood in your poo

Perhaps the best-known sign of bowel cancer is bright red or very dark blood in your stool.

“The presence of blood in your stool or bleeding during bowel movements may indicate potential issues like colorectal, anal, or in women, uterine or bladder cancer,” the colorectal surgeon said.

4. Stomach pain

Experiencing abdominal pain, cramping, or discomfort during bowel movements could be another sign of bowel cancer, Mr Prabhudesai warned.

5. Feeling like you need to empty your bowels after you just had a poo

Also known as tenesmus, this sign makes you feel like you have to defecate without actually being able to.

The doctor recommended getting examined by a healthcare professional if you feel incomplete emptying after being on the toilet or notice any other concerning changes in your stool.

He said: “If these changes are persistent, see your GP. It may sound like an embarrassing symptom to [talk about], and the tests may not reveal cancer, but it is important to be checked. Early detection of bowel cancer can save lives.

“Remember, these signs may not only happen during bowel movements, so noticing any unusual changes is crucial.”

Furthermore, Mr Prabhudesai warned that one is “never too young to be concerned about bowel cancer”. “We are increasingly seeing younger patients with this problem, and as a result of the “Never Too Young” campaign by Bowel Cancer UK, the awareness of this condition amongst this age group is on the rise,” he added.

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