Health

Bowel cancer: Smelly warning sign which could indicate early diagnosis of deadly condition

While the risk of developing bowel cancer increases with age, the incidence of bowel cancer is rising up to three percent annually for people under the age of 50 as well, meaning no one should practice complacency when it comes to the deadly disease. Changes in bowel habits and blood in the stools are the more common symptoms to spot but experiencing more gas than usual is also another sign you may be at risk of bowel cancer.

Everyone has gas and it may be painful and embarrassing but is often not something which is dangerous.

The body gets rid of gas by burping or by passing it through the rectum.

Most people make about one to four pints of gas a day and is common to pass gas about 14 to 23 times a day.

While it's normal to pass gas up to 23 times per day, excessive gas and bloating can be a sign of bowel cancer.

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Dr Shiraj Sen, investigator at the GI Cancer Research Program and associate director of drug development said: "We are unfortunately seeing bowel cancer develop in many young adults who have none of the characteristic risk factors for developing the cancer.

"These are often healthy individuals who have healthy diets, exercise, and have no family history of bowel cancer.

"These young adults often tell us that they were not aware that bowel cancer could be the cause of their symptoms and that led them to not see a doctor until their symptoms worsened quite significantly."

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Other symptoms of bowel cancer to spot include:

Any major change in bowel habitsBlood in the stool that is either bright red, black or tarryUnintentional weight lossStools that are narrower than usualDiarrhoea, constipation, or feeling that the bowel does not empty completelyGeneral abdominal discomfort, such as frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness and/or crampsConstant feeling of fatigue or tirednessNew onset anaemia diagnosed on routine lab work


In some cases, you may have gas symptoms because of a serious health problem, said Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

The health site added: "Always see your healthcare provider to be sure.

"Your healthcare provider will look at your past health and give you a physical exam.

"The following tests may also be done which include an abdominal X-ray where an X-ray machine sends a beam of radiation through the abdomen.

"The image is recorded on special film or a computer.

"A colonoscopy checks for colorectal cancer, polyps, and other colon disease.

"Colonoscopy is recommended if you are age 50 or older, or maybe even earlier if you have a family history of colorectal cancer.

"A colonoscopy looks at the entire length of the large intestine.

"This test can often help find abnormal growths, inflamed tissue, ulcers, and bleeding.

"A long, flexible, lighted tube (colonoscope) is inserted in through your rectum and up into your colon.

"Your healthcare provider uses the tube to see the lining of the colon and to take a tissue sample (biopsy) and he or she may also be able to fix some problems that are found."



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