What is Bowel Cancer?

Bowel cancer usually affects the large bowel (colon) or the back passage (rectum) and it happens when the cells that line the bowel change over a period of time and grow in an abnormal way. This leads to the development of a lump or an ulcer which can cause rectal bleeding or a change in the way in which the bowel functions. (see Signs and Symptoms)

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in Guernsey, after breast and prostate cancers, with approximately 40 to 45 new cases each year. But the good news is that, if detected early enough, over 90% of those diagnosed with early stage bowel cancer are successfully treated.

Don’t be embarrassed! Some people find it difficult to talk about their bowels and some just hope that any problems will go away. But don’t let embarrassment stop you going to see your GP. Remember that the symptoms are unlikely to be due to bowel cancer but it is important to discuss them with your doctor. See ‘Other Common Conditions’ with symptoms similar to bowel cancer.

Quite simply, a trip to your doctor’s surgery could save your life.

The key to cure is early detection. We must all be aware of the symptoms.”

Dr Peter Gomes, Consultant Oncologist, Guernsey Medical Specialist Group