What is Bowel Cancer? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment Methods.

What is Bowel Cancer?

Bowel cancer also called colorectal cancer, builds from the inner lining of the bowel. And it is usually advanced by growths known as polyps, which may become invasive cancer if undisclosed. Depending on where cancer starts, it may be known as colon or rectal cancer.

However, it is the third most familiar cancer in both men and women in Australia and is more familiar in people over the age of 50. The chance of living bowel cancer for at least five years is 70%.

Bowel cancer symptoms

However, there are some symptoms of bowel cancer may include:-

  • Several changes in bowel habit like diarrhea, constipation, or the feeling of incomplete emptying
  • A change in the aspect or consistency of bowel movements like thin bowel stools
  • Blood in the stools
  • Abdominal pain, bloating, or cramping
  • Anal or rectal pain
  • A lump in the anus or rectum
  • Weight loss
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Tiredness and anemia (such as pale complexion, weakness, and breathlessness)
  • Blood in the urine or passing urine frequently or during the night change in urine color dark, rusty or brown

Causes of bowel cancer

However, some factors that improve your risk of bowel cancer include:-

  • Inherited genetic risk and family medical history
  • Inflammatory bowel issue like Crohn’s disease
  • High red meat consumption, especially advance meats
  • Polyps
  • Being overweight or obese
  • The severe amount of alcohol consumption
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Having a past diagnosis of bowel cancer

Diagnosis of bowel cancer

However, several tests are used to diagnose bowel cancer. Initially, your health consultant will give you a physical examination to feel if you have any abdominal swelling. Also, your consultant will give you a digital rectal examination to check for any lumps or swelling in the rectum or anus.

Blood tests

You may have a blood exam to see if there are any symptoms that you are losing blood in your stools. However, it can also examine your red blood cell count as low red blood cells are familiar in people with bowel cancer.

Immunochemical fecal occult blood test (iFOBT)

You may have an iFOBT which may be depending on your symptoms. The test may be useful if you have abdominal pain changes to your bowel habits, unexplained weight loss, or anemia. This test is not recommending if you are bleeding from the rectum.

With the iFOBT, you will grasp a sample of your stools at home. The sample is checked under a microscope for traces of blood which could be a symptom of polyps, cancer, or other bowel situation. However, it does not diagnose cancer, but if blood is detected, your consultant will recommend a colonoscopy no more than 30 days after getting the outcome.


A useful test for bowel cancer is a colonoscopy, which checks the length of the large bowel. Air enters into the colon through a flexible tube that is put into the anus. A camera on the end of the tube allows your consultant to look for abnormal tissue that is separated for further examination.

Flexible sigmoidoscopy

However, it is useful to check the rectum and left side of the lower colon. Any unusual tissue can be separated for further tests.


An MRI scan makes detailed cross-sectional images of the body and can show the extent of any tumors.

CT scan

CT scans produce three-dimensional images of many organs at the same time and can be used to check the bowel.

PET scan

In a PET scan, a small amount of radioactive glucose is inserted into the body. When scanned, cancer cells will seem brighter.

Treatment for bowel cancer

Treatment for early bowel cancer


Surgery is the main treatment method for early bowel cancer. However, the most familiar surgery for cancer that starts in the colon is a colectomy. The type of colectomy that may perform will depend on whether all or part of the colon requires to be separate.

Radiation therapy (radiotherapy)

However, it is more useful before surgery for locally promote rectal cancer and may be useful in combination with chemotherapy to decrease the number and size of cancer cells.

Adjuvant treatment

Chemotherapy aims to decrease the risk of cancer returning.

Treatment for advanced bowel cancer

Systematic treatment

However, it is more useful for advanced level bowel cancer uses drugs that move through the bloodstream to gain cancer cells throughout the body. It can include chemotherapy and targeting therapies.


Surgery is useful to separate small secondary cancers if cancer has spread to other areas of the body.

Last Updated on October 11, 2023 by anup