How to check your poo for signs of colon cancer – ‘know what’s normal’

Colon cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK, but millions of people still don’t know how to recognize the symptoms. Checking your poop and keeping an eye on abnormal changes in your toileting habits is one of the easiest ways to check for signs of colon cancer, but how do you know what to look for? Express.co.uk reveals the proper way to monitor your poo, including what to look out for and where to get help if you notice anything unusual.

According to the NHS, around one in 20 people in the UK will develop colon cancer at some point in their lives.

While controlling your poop isn’t the easiest thing to talk about, it can save your life when it comes to getting colon cancer or stopping other illnesses.

Julie Thompson, Information Manager at Guts UK Charity said: “There is a real taboo surrounding poo, but your poo is an indicator of your health in many ways.

“It’s important to look at your poop, know what’s ‘normal’, and talk to your doctor about anything unusual for you.”

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silver poo

Silver poop is very rare, but it should always be discussed urgently with your doctor as it can be a symptom of cancer.

This type of cancer develops in the tubes that come from the gallbladder and pancreas.

redness

While redness in your poop can be a sign of blood, remember that it can also be caused by something as simple as eating beetroot or dyed foods and drinks.

If you notice red tinges in your poop and haven’t eaten anything that could change the color, it could be a sign of bleeding in your gut.

When this happens you should see your doctor immediately as it requires further investigation.

Orange and yellow shades

Orange poop is often the result of the food you’ve eaten, but it can also indicate a condition called bile acid malabsorption.

Julie told Stylist Magazine, “Yellow stools can be caused by too much fat in the poop, which can sometimes be caused by drugs.

“You might also find that your poop is floating and can be described as ‘greasy’.

Celiac disease, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, pancreatitis, type 1 diabetes, and type 3c diabetes have all been associated with orange or yellow stools.

When should you check your poop?

As a general rule of thumb, look at your poo every time you go to the toilet.

Checking your stool regularly is the only way to know what is “normal” for you and to identify a change in the color, consistency or frequency of your toileting habits.

Keeping a diary of changes may also be helpful to your doctor if you are concerned about visible changes in color, shape, or texture.

Regular NHS bowel cancer screening is also being rolled out by the NHS to reduce the risk of dying from colon cancer, although it is currently only available to people aged 60 to 74.

The NHS said: “The program is being expanded to make it available to anyone aged 50 to 59. This is happening gradually over four years and started in April 2021.

“You use a home testing kit called a fecal immunochemical test (FIT) to collect a small sample of poop and send it to a lab. This is checked for small amounts of blood.”

Even if you don’t have any symptoms, you should still see a doctor for advice if you have a family history of colon cancer.

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