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Colorectal (bowel) cancer information for patients

Diagnosing and treating bowel, rectal and anal cancer 

Cancer

Coronavirus: cancer update

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, please read our advice and information before attending the service.

Information for patients

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 

    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.

    If you are having chemotherapy or radiotherapy your appointments will be in the Cancer Centre at Guy's.

    Specialist clinical nurses are available at all clinics.

    As this is a teaching hospital, students supervised by qualified staff might be involved in your care. It is valuable training for students and does not affect the quality of your treatment in any way, but please tell us if you do not want them to be present or involved. We will always respect your wishes.

  • 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.

  • After your appointment

    We will write a letter to your GP and send a copy of this to any other health professionals involved in your care. Your doctor will ask you if you would also like a copy.

    Colorectal cancer support group

    We offer a drop-in support group for patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer and their carers. It takes place on the third Thursday of every month between 1.30pm and 3.00pm. It has information about all aspects of cancer and can provide complementary therapy and psychological support. See the Dimbleby Cancer Care page.

Clinic locations

Clinics

  • Surgical clinics run Monday-Thursday. You will be seen by a consultant and specialist bowel cancer nurse.

Clinics held in the Cancer Centre:

  • medical oncology clinics: Monday (2pm-6pm), Tuesday (9am-2pm), Thursday (2pm-5pm)
  • clinical oncology clinics: Tuesday (9am-1pm and 2pm-5pm), Friday (1pm-5pm).