Bowel cancer is a general term for cancer that begins in the large intestine, and depending on where the tumor began, bowel cancer is sometimes called colorectal cancer.
A recently published study revealed that an increased presence of certain bacteria in the intestine indicates an increased risk of colon tissue becoming cancerous.
The study, published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, states: “Colon and rectal cancer is a major health concern worldwide.”
It found that gut bacteria may be an indicator of colon cancer risk.
The researchers followed 40 patients – who underwent colonoscopy and biopsies near the tumors – and found the bacteria present at relatively higher levels compared to patients who were free of the tumor.
The patients’ ages ranged between 50 and 75 years, and 60% of them were women.
There are three main symptoms of bowel cancer, although many people with these symptoms do not have cancer.
Symptoms include persistent blood in your stools, which occurs for no apparent reason. The second is that there is a constant change in bowel habit. This means needing more bowel movements and discovering that your stools may also become more liquid.
The third major symptom is persistent lower abdominal pain. The bloating or discomfort in your abdomen that always seems to be caused by eating, and it may be related to a loss of appetite or significant, untargeted weight loss.
However, blood in your stools when accompanied by some discomfort, is often the result of hemorrhoids.
Other changes in the gut can also be caused by diet, and are not usually caused by any serious condition, says the NHS.
In fact, there are a number of factors that can increase the risk of bowel cancer, although the exact cause of bowel cancer is unknown.
In addition to being over the age of 60, risk factors include a diet rich in red or processed meat and low in fiber and being overweight.
Smoking may increase your risk of developing bowel cancer, and it can also be inactive.
Some people will also have an increased risk of developing bowel cancer as a result of another condition, for example if they have had Crohn’s disease of the colon for more than 10 years.