Colorectal (bowel) cancer information for patients

Diagnosing and treating bowel, rectal and anal cancer 

Cancer

If your GP thinks your symptoms may be due to bowel cancer, you will be given an appointment to see one of our specialists within two weeks.

It is important to remember that these symptoms can be caused by conditions other than cancer. However, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms you should see your GP who may refer you for further investigation.

  • Symptoms of bowel cancer

    • bleeding, which you may notice in your stools, on the toilet paper or in the toilet after a bowel motion
    • changes to your normal bowel habits, constipation and/or diarrhoea, lasting longer than six weeks
    • stomach pain or bloating
    • rectal pain
    • unexplained tiredness or weight loss.
  • Your appointment 

    Clinics run Monday-Thursday. You will be seen by a consultant and specialist bowel cancer nurse. If you need to have further investigations, we can access a wide range of diagnostic procedures, some of which are not routinely available at other centres.

    If you need treatment, your case will be discussed by the colorectal team in their weekly meeting, attended by staff from all the specialities that may need to be involved in your care. 

    You will be able to discuss your options directly with your consultant and nurse specialist.

  • Will I need to have surgery?

    Most patients with bowel cancer will need surgery. Usually this will be a bowel resection, which involves removing the affected part and then rejoining the bowel. In many cases bowel cancer can be cured in this way with no need for further treatment.

    In rare cases, more radical surgery may be needed. Our bowel surgeons are leading in surgical techniques for patients whose cancer may be more advanced, or which has returned after treatment.

    In some cases, patients may also need chemotherapy or radiotherapy.