Bowel / Colon Cancer - Is it common?

Bowel / Colon Cancer, is it common?  Yes!  Your bowel is the bit of your guts below your stomach, this is where the left over food is collected into a stool (poo, bowel motion) before you go to the toilet. Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK and about one family in ten have someone affected.

In Aberdeen City about 160 people and in Aberdeenshire 153 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year. Scotland has one of the worst rates of bowel cancer in the world, this is thought to be because of a poor diet and a lack of exercise.

This Traffic Light Poster from Lynn’s Bowel Cancer website tells you what to look out for, it stresses that most bowel problems are NOT cancer and changes that last for more than 4 weeks (without returning to normal in between) should be discussed with your GP. But just what is normal?  This web page from Family Doctor books tells you more than you probably ever wanted to know about your bowels! If you scroll down, there is a chart called “The Bristol Stool Form Chart“, this will give you an idea of what your stools (poo) should look like.

If you have some trouble with your bowels you may be asked to keep a symptom diary but how do you know what to write? The Bowel Cancer Awareness Project have a pdf diary leaflet you can download and fill in, this can be helpful if you need to talk to your doctor but don’t know what to say.

It can be hard to talk about bowel cancer because doctors use a different language to the rest of us, below are some medical terms along with slang terms for the same thing so you can work out what they mean.

  • Medical Term – Stool (also called bowel movement or bowel motion)
  • Slang Term – Poo, poop, shit, turd, a dump, number two
  • Medical Term – Urinate
  • Slang Term – Piss, waz, pee, piddle, number one
  • Medical Term – Diarrhea
  • Slang Term – The runs, the skits.
  • Medical Term – Constipated
  • Slang Term -can’t poo, turd is stuck.

If you have been diagnosed with bowel cancer, you can get more information from Macmillan, from Cancer Research UK (they have a quick links section if you are looking for a specific bit of information) from the charity Beating Bowel Cancer or from Bowel Cancer UK.

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