The average Briton can name only one symptom of bowel cancer, a survey has shown.
Cancer Research UK noted the condition is responsible for the second highest number of cancer deaths and is the third most common type of the disease, yet awareness is very low.
A study funded by the charity and published in BMC Cancer revealed that in addition to lack of knowledge about symptoms - such as tiredness and lumps in the abdomen - many people are unaware of risk factors such as diet and exercise.
Director of health information at Cancer Research UK Sara Hiom suggested enhancing the public's knowledge could encourage more people to go for screenings and therefore improve the chance of early detection.
"This is vital if we are to reduce the number of premature deaths from bowel cancer," she added. "When the disease is diagnosed at the earliest stage there is an excellent chance of survival."
According to Bowel Cancer UK, around 40,000 people are diagnosed with the disease in the UK every year.