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Dr Hilary Jones discusses bowel cancer awareness acronym

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Lymph nodes play a vital role in the immune system, acting as the body’s filters, trapping viruses and bacteria. You can find lymph nodes in the neck, under the chin, in the armpits and groin. Swollen lymph nodes are usually an indication of an infection; Cancer Research UK confirmed it can be a sign of advanced cancer too. The charity elaborated: “The most common symptom if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes is that they feel hard or swollen.”

When cancer cells prevent the lymph nodes from draining fluid, swelling in the neck or face occurs – i.e. lymphoedema.

General warning signs of cancer include feeling tired, actonel withdrawal having low energy levels, feeling “under the weather”, and have less of an appetite.

Before the cancer is given the chance to spread from the bowel to the lymph nodes, there might have been signs of the tumour beforehand.

It’s possible for bowel cancer to cause a change in your normal bowel habits.

This means the frequency or consistency (diarrhoea or constipation) had veered away from your normal.

It’s understandable that over time, you might believe that whatever bowel movements you’re having are usual for you.

This is why it’s important to take notice the moment it happens in the beginning, and whether the change in bowel habits continues for four weeks or more.

Thankfully, there are other signs of bowel cancer to help you seek faster treatment.

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For instance, any blood coming from your back passage warrants an appointment with your GP – even if it’s over the phone.

Another possible symptom of bowel cancer includes feeling as though you still need to poo, even after emptying your bowels.

In-person GP appointments might lead to a health practitioner feeling for a lump in your back passage.

This might seem like an embarrassing process, but it’s a key way the GP can tell if you have a cancerous lump.

Unexplained weight loss, pain in the abdomen or back passage, or breathlessness could all be signs of a growing tumour.

If you’re concerned you might have bowel cancer, do arrange an appointment with your GP – it could save your life.

The earlier bowel cancer is diagnosed, the better the chances of a full recovery.

Should the tumour have been growing, unbeknown to you, it may have spread to the lungs.

Bowel cancer that has travelled to the lungs causes its own specific symptoms.

For example, a cough might emerge that seemingly worsens at night and doesn’t go away.

Another clue is suffering from ongoing chest infections, coughing up blood, and feeling breathless.

For a full list of symptoms that cancer can cause, please visit Cancer Research UK.

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