Bowel cancer is also known as colorectal cancer and is the third most common cancer in Britain. Roughly one in 20 people in the UK will develop this form of cancer and the risk increases with age. Like many cancers, the incidence of bowel cancer is higher in people over the age of 50.
Bowel cancer treatment and diagnosis has improved in recent years. However, the most commonly-used form of bowel cancer treatment is still surgery. How successful this is depends on the stage of the cancer. If it is diagnosed at an early stage, there is a good chance that this will be successful. If the cancer is advanced, i.e. it has grown very large or has spread, surgical bowel cancer treatment may not be curative but may still slow the progress of the cancer.
Generally, the life expectancy of people who are diagnosed with bowel cancer is relatively good. There is plenty that can be done.
This article on bowel cancer symptoms and treatment is by Kathryn Senior, a freelance journalist who writes health, medical, biological, and pharmaceutical articles for national and international journals, newsletters and web sites.
What is bowel cancer?
Bowel cancer is cancer of the colon, which is also known as the large intestine, or the rectum. Bowel cancer can develop either from a previously benign polyp or from cancerous cells in the lining of the colon or rectum. From these small beginnings, a cancerous tumour can grow very large. Early bowel cancer treatment is important because it is particularly dangerous if the cancer invades the wall of the colon or rectum. Some cells may break away from the tumour and move into the lymph channels or the circulation, causing the cancer to spread.
This is a process that can happen with all cancers and is called metastasis. If a cancer has metastasised, it is already at an advanced stage. It is therefore vital to recognise the risk factors and symptoms, so that you can begin bowel cancer treatment before the cancer becomes too advanced.