The symptoms of bowel cancer can be subtle and don't necessarily make you feel ill. However, it's worth trying simple treatments for a short time to see if they get better.
More than 90% of people with bowel cancer have one of the following combinations of symptoms:
Constipation, where you pass harder stools less often, is rarely caused by serious bowel conditions.
Although bowel cancer symptoms are very common, you should see your GP if they persist for more than four weeks. Most people with these symptoms don't have bowel cancer.
Try the bowel cancer symptom checker for advice on what treatments you can try to see if your symptoms get better, and when you should see your GP to discuss whether any tests are necessary.
See your doctor if your symptoms persist or keep coming back after stopping treatment, regardless of their severity or your age.
Read more about diagnosing bowel cancer.
In some cases, bowel cancer can stop digestive waste passing through the bowel. This is known as a bowel obstruction.
Symptoms of a bowel obstruction can include:
A bowel obstruction is a medical emergency. If you suspect your bowel is obstructed, you should see your GP quickly. If this isn't possible, go to the accident and emergency (A&E) department of your nearest hospital.