Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

What to look out for

The early signs of bowel cancer are often hidden so it's important to look out for these signs or changes in your bowel movements. If you experience any of the symptoms below make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible.

  • Repeated bleeding from your bottom or blood in your poo.
  • A recent change in your poo that continues for more than four weeks without going back to normal.
  • Watery poo on its own or with constipation (constipation on its own is less likely to be serious).
  • Severe pain in your stomach that won't go away, especially after eating.
  • You've recently lost weight without trying
  • You feel tired all the time and people keep telling you that you, 'look a bit pale.'

For more information on bowel cancer and potential symptoms visit NHS Inform.

Bowel cancer home screening test

As well as looking out for the signs and symptoms above, it’s important to keep an eye out for your home bowel cancer screening test coming through your letterbox.

Everyone between the ages of 50 and 74 will receive a bowel screening kit through the post every two years. If you're 75 or over you can still take a test every two years if you want to. However, you won't automatically be sent a kit, you'll need to request one via the Helpline number below.

The test is the most effective way to detect bowel cancer in its earliest stages – when it’s more treatable and can often be cured. It can spot hidden blood in your poo – which you or your GP wouldn’t know was there - which can often be a sign of bowel cancer.

To take the test all you have to do is put one sample of poo onto a special stick and then close the test. It’s quick and simple and could save your life.

If you have made a mistake or misplaced your screening test don’t worry, you can request a replacement simply by calling the Scottish Bowel Screening Helpline on 0800 0121 833.

To find out more about how to do the test click here or watch this short film.