2. Change in bowel habits
“Although usually a symptom of other less serious problems, persistent constipation, diarrhoea and bowel incontinence could also be a sign of bowel cancer. It’s important to tell your GP if you’ve noticed these changes in your bowel habits, especially if you’re also experiencing bleeding from your back passage,” says Francis.
A more common cause of changing bowel habits is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which affects around 20% of the UK population. “Your symptoms are far more likely to be caused by this,” adds Francis, “but it’s always important to check with a specialist, just to be on the safe side.”