Bowel Cancer Awareness

Bowel cancer is the UK’s second deadliest form of cancer and over 40,000 people every year find out that they have it.

Shockingly, a large number of people make the fatal mistake of assuming the symptoms they are experiencing are that of piles and not bowel cancer. Knowing how the two health conditions differ is essential in knowing the next actions to take. Below is a short Q&A for both piles and bowel cancer.


What are piles?

Piles or haemorrhoids as they are otherwise known, are soft swellings that form around the rectum. They can either develop internally or externally – internal piles or external piles.

What are the symptoms of piles?

The symptoms of piles include:

  • Itching or sensitive lumps around the back passage
  • Discomfort when passing stools
  • Heaviness experienced around the anus
  • Bright red spotting or bleeding around the back passage

Who is at risk?

The risk factors that can cause piles vary. However the most common risk factors include: Pregnancy, age, frequently lifting heavy objects, genetics, constipation or diarrhoea.

Are piles dangerous?

Piles (haemorrhoids) are not considered to be dangerous but they are irritating. With the right treatments and lifestyle changes, the symptoms of piles can be alleviated effectively.

How can piles be treated?

The symptoms of piles can be managed with the right care. A doctor will usually advise you to increase your fibre intake. You may also be advised to take a bulking agent if you are suffering from constipation or diarrhoea (a known risk factor). Treatments like topical creams or suppositories can alleviate the burning sensation and discomfort caused by haemorrhoids. In severe cases, a doctor may recommend surgery.

Bowel cancer

What is bowel cancer?

Bowel cancer, or colorectal cancer, affects the large bowel and rectum. In most cases, it grows gradually over a period of up to 10 years, before it starts to spread and affect other parts of the body.

What are the symptoms of bowel cancer?

It is true that many of the symptoms of bowel cancer can resemble that of piles, but there are slight differences.

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Feeling tired, or dizzy
  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Blood in the stools
  • Sudden weight loss

Who is at risk?

Bowel cancer affects men and women and can affect anyone of any age. Risk factors can include: diet, being over weight and genetics.

Is bowel cancer dangerous?

Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in the UK. However if it is diagnosed early, it can be treated. It is important that any symptoms experienced should be checked with a doctor immediately.

How can bowel cancer be detected?

A doctor will usually perform a rectal examination. From here you may be referred to a specialist, where you will have a rigid sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy or CT colonography.

The infographic below is a great aid for people who are worried that there something more serious happening. So take a look at this infographic, and make sure that you and your loved ones are as prepared as you can be.


Image created by 

Have you got a health question?

We've teamed up with AXA PPP healthcare to bring you articles, information and tips from their clinical teams on a wide range of health topics. And if you have a question of your own, their, "Ask the Expert" service allows you to ask the team of friendly, experienced nurses, pharmacists and midwives about any health topic and they'll get back to you with an answer as soon as they’re able.* So if you have something that’s been bothering you, whether it concerns you or someone close to you, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Click below to submit your query online.


* Nurses are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Midwives and pharmacists are available Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm; Saturday, 8am to 4pm; and Sunday, 8am to 12pm.
Actual response time will depend on the nature of your enquiry and availability of appropriately qualified experts but the team will always aim to get back to you within 24 hours.
Please note that our Expert Help services are there to offer health information and support. They do not diagnose or prescribe, and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice given in the context of an individual consultation.


The following two tabs change content below.
Mother of three grown-up daughters I am the ultimate multi-tasker and am passionate about my role as Silversurfers Website Editor and Social Media Manager. Always on the lookout for all things that will interest and entertain our community. Fueling fun for the young at heart!

Leave a Comment!

Not a member?

You need to be a member to interact with Silversurfers. Joining is free and simple to do. Click the button below to join today!

Click here if you have forgotten your password
10th Dec 2016
Thanks for voting!
My Husband has just been diagnosed with Bowel Cancer. He seems to be taking it much better than I do. I am devastated.
We are waiting, he needs to have further tests.
All the literature I have read says things like smoking, drinking being overweight, not having a good diet are issues which lead to Cancers. Yet none of the things apply to my Husband.
madam mim
31st Jul 2015
Thanks for voting!
I was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer in 2011 at the age of 59, there is a link with cancer of the womb which I also had in 2004. Its called the Lynch Link, so any ladies who have had cancer of the womb make sure you check any changes with your bowel habits. I have been very lucky and am in remission.

Community Terms & Conditions

Content standards

These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.

You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.

Contributions must:

be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.

Contributions must not:

contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.

Nurturing a safe environment

Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.

We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!