Deborah James leaves hospital after bowel cancer surgery
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When bones become damaged by advanced bowel cancer, calcium is released into the blood; this is medically known as hypercalcaemia, which can lead to various symptoms. Cancer Research UK noted that hypercalcaemia – caused by advanced cancer – can lead to a feeling of thirst. Other possible indications of hypercalcaemia include tiredness, nausea, constipation, irritability, and confusion.
The disease may also lead to an ache or pain in the affected bone and weakness in that area is more prone to fracture.
If these symptoms are in addition to indications of bowel cancer, book an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
Indications of bowel cancer
- Bleeding from the back passage (rectum) or blood in your poo
- A change in your normal bowel habit, such as looser poo, pooing more often or constipation
- A lump that your doctor can feel in your back passage or tummy (abdomen), more commonly on the right side
- A feeling of needing to strain in your back passage (as if you need to poo), even after opening your bowels
- Losing weight
- Pain in your abdomen or back passage.
In the UK, the NHS stated that the bowel screening programme is available for 56 year olds and people aged 60 and above.
The self-testing kit is sent to people’s homes every two years from the age of 60 (if you are registered to your doctor’s clinic and your address is up-to-date).
The home test is known as a faecal immunochemical test (FIT), which involves collecting a small poo sample to be sent off to a laboratory.
Scientists will examine the sample for traces of blood, some of which may be invisible to the naked eye.
The presence of blood may be indicative of non-cancerous polyps that have the risk of turning cancerous or bowel cancer.
“If the test finds anything unusual, you might be asked to have further tests to confirm or rule out cancer,” the NHS added.
Cancer Research UK cautioned that “because of Covid, there are delays” in the delivery of home testing kits and receiving your results.
However, for everybody eligible, it is in your best interest to complete the health check.
The sooner that any type of cancer is identified, the sooner treatment can begin and the more chance of a successful recovery.
For people below the age of 60, who are experiencing bowel cancer symptoms, do not hesitate to get in contact with your healthcare provider.
Encouragingly, bowel cancer survival in the UK has more than doubled in the past 40 years.
When bowel cancer is left alone to amass into a more wide-spread tumour, the bones are not the only location where the disease can spread to.
Other areas where cancer can spread include the liver and lungs, which lead to their own symptoms.
For instance, if the cancer has spread to the liver, then the affected person might experience:
- Discomfort or pain on the right side of your abdomen
- Feeling sick
- Poor appetite and weight loss
- Swollen abdomen (called ascites)
- Yellowing of the skin (jaundice)
- Itchy skin.
If the lungs have been infected by cancerous cells, symptoms might include:
- A cough that doesn’t go away (often worse at night)
- Ongoing chest infections
- Coughing up blood
- A build up of fluid between the chest wall and the lung (a pleural effusion).
Treatments, such as radiotherapy or chemotherapy can sometimes shrink the tumour and reduce troublesome symptoms.
If you have advanced cancer, you will be looked after by a team of medical professionals.
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