Bowel cancer isn’t always eager to show symptoms. The warning signs that do appear are often vague and subtle. 

While you may scan the toilet bowl for any indications of the potentially deadly disease, one lesser-known sign won’t appear there.

Spotting cancer at an early stage can save lives, which puts symptom awareness front and centre.

Fortunately, Associate Medical Director and GP at Vitality, Nikita Patel told The Mirror about a sign you might have not heard of.

The GP shared that one of the lesser-known symptoms of bowel cancer could be anaemia, which occurs when your blood produces less healthy red blood cells than normal.

Leaving you tired and weak, anaemia can be triggered when bowel cancer bleeds into your digestive tract, causing blood to crop up in your stool.

Over time, the blood loss can build up and trigger low red blood cell counts, also known as anaemia.

Bowel cancer can also cause a lack of iron in the body, leading to the condition. 

Anaemia can present itself on your face and skin, as you may start to look paler than normal. 

You’re also likely to feel very tired, and you might experience shortness of breath and headaches. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to speak to your GP. 

While anaemia could ring alarm bells, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t mean you definitely have bowel cancer, but you should always check if you’re worried.

The doctor also shared other symptoms of bowel cancer to look out for:

  • Unexplained change in bowel habit (such as going to open your bowels more often or becoming more constipated)
  • Blood in your stool
  • Lump in your tummy
  • Unexplained loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Anaemia.

Worryingly, Dr Patel explained that symptoms of bowel cancer can be quite hard to tell apart from conditions like irritable bowel syndrome. 

He said: “Bowel cancer symptoms can sometimes be confused with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) as the symptoms can be quite hard to distinguish.

“It’s important to keep a track of changes in your bowels and consult your GP if you’re worried about anything.

“Remember that doctors have seen it all before – they are not fazed by these conversations and really want to address your worries and concerns about your health.”

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