Bowel cancer: ‘Ribbon-like’ poo is an early warning sign – and other telling symptoms

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This removal, this lessening of the stigma around checking one’s poo could well save lives and enable more cases of bowel cancer to be spotted earlier.

Two of the earliest symptoms of bowel cancer can be spotted through the colour and shape of poo.

Cancer Treatment Centres of America say one of the earlier symptoms of bowel (or colorectal) cancer is “narrow, ribbon-like stools”.

Meanwhile, another key symptom of bowel cancer is a change in colour of the poo, from brown to red.

However, there isn’t one particular shade of red to look out for, but two.

Bowel Cancer UK explain: “Bright red blood may come from swollen blood vessels (haemorrhoids or piles) in your back passage. It may also be caused by bowel cancer. Dark red or black blood may come from your bowel or stomach.”

Other symptoms of bowel cancer include:
• Bleeding from the bottom
• A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit
• Unexplained weight loss
• Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
• A pain or lump in your tummy.

However, there are few points of clarification to make on these symptoms.

Bowel Cancer UK say: “Most people with these symptoms don’t have bowel cancer. Other health problems can cause similar symptoms.”

Furthermore, some of these symptoms may pass.

The important thing is to see a GP if they carry for an extended period of time, normally three weeks.

Meanwhile, strides have recently been made in the treatment of bowel cancer in the United States.

Results of a new trial have been described as “ground-breaking”, as the new drug was found to defeat 100 percent of tumours.

The trial, carried out by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York on 12 participants, found the drug dostarlimab was effective at treating bowel cancer.

The drug was given to the patients every three to six months and was developed by GlaxoSmithKline.

While the results are extremely promising, it is important to note the small number of patients in the study.

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