Bowel Cancer: Apr' 14

Publish date: 24/04/2014

Anonymous318 asked: As a person on warfarin (AF) what are the risks in taking the test and having a colonoscopy (which I believe is a greater possibility than with normal population)?

Sue Airey and Dr Poonam Chouhan answered: Hello. If you are taking warfarin, there is a theoretical increased risk of bleeding with a colonoscopy. However, the team looking after you will try to minimise the risk by monitoring your INR levels before and after the procedure, and perhaps by stopping or changing your medication just prior to the procedure. You should ensure that the medical team are aware that you are taking warfarin.

Melanie asked: Hello. My mother died of bowel cancer aged 54. Should my brother and I request to be screened - we are both in our early 40's. Many thanks, Melanie.

Sue Airey and Dr Poonam Chouhan answered: Hello Melanie, I'm sorry to hear about your mother. In response to your question, it depends on a number of further factors, including the age at which your mother was diagnosed with bowel cancer, whether you have any other relatives affected and whether you or your brother have any other medical conditions. It would be a good idea to discuss this with your GP as he or she is likely to have access to your medical history and possibly that of your other family members.

AXA PPP healthcare asked: We've had a question from Twitter: Shelley White I had colonoscopy (showed polyp & diverticular disease) Could that be cause of my constant tummy churning?

Sue Airey and Dr Poonam Chouhan answered: Dear Shelley, please could we clarify some details: was your tummy churning the reason you had the colonoscopy or has your tummy been churning since the colonoscopy?

AXA PPP healthcare commented: Shelley has replied: yes, I had it before plus discomfort in back passage (sorry!) still got both!

Sue Airey and Dr Poonam Chouhan answered: Thank you Shelley. It is helpful that you have had a colonoscopy. However with the symptoms you have described, it is important that you discuss them with your GP or your hospital specialist to determine what could be causing them.


If you missed our live chat and have any further questions relating to Bowel Cancer, then why not ask our panel of experts a question?

AXA PPP healthcare asked: Hi, Bowel Cancer screening as been in the news recently and this BBC article mentions that only 1/2 people take up the screening. Can you give some details about what's involved in the screening process?

Sue Airey and Dr Poonam Chouhan answered: Hi, the screening programme is national and available in all four nations. To be invited to participate you have to be registered with a GP. If you're aged between 60-74 in England and Wales, 60-71 in Northern Ireland and 50-74 in Scotland, you will receive your test kit through the post around the date of your birthday every two years.

The test is looking for hidden blood in samples of your poo. It is an easy test to do - it can be done in the privacy of your own bathroom, and simply involves collecting two smears of your poo on three different occasions. It is then sent off to a laboratory to be analysed.

You will then receive your results through the post within two weeks. If no blood is seen, you will sent another kit in two years. If any blood is detected, you may well have to repeat the test or be referred to see a specialist screening practitioner at the hospital. During this visit, a health history will be taken and you will be offered a colonoscopy. This investigation will be fully explained including the preparation you need to do for it, and you will have the opportunity to ask any questions.

Please have a look at our factsheet which explains the screening programme in much greater detail:


If you missed our live chat and have any further questions relating to Bowel Cancer, then why not ask our panel of experts a question?

 Anonymous336 asked: both my father and his father (my grandad) have had bowel cancer. grandad survived many years with a stoma dad is still having regular check ups and has had his stoma reversed, but does still suffer with wind diarrhoea etc. is this likely to be genetic? what's my chances? thanks

Sue Airey and Dr Poonam Chouhan answered: Hello, thank you for getting in touch. Bowel cancer can be genetic but it depends on a number of different factors. With your family history it would be very advisable to discuss this with your GP to see whether referral on to a specialist genetics or family history clinic would be appropriate.

The first question is how old were your father and grandfather when they were diagnosed? Are there any other cancers, inflammatory bowel disease or medical conditions that run in the family?

You may find this factsheet useful:

AXA PPP healthcare asked: We've had a question from Twitter: What's the most common sign of Bowel Cancer to look out for?

Sue Airey and Dr Poonam Chouhan answered: The most common signs or symptoms are:

  • Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo (please do look)
  • A change in bowel habit lasting for 3 weeks or more especially to looser or runny poo
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason or shortness of breath
  • A pain in your tummy
  • A lump in your tummy You may get one, some or all of the above. The most important thing is to know what is normal for you, and if you notice any changes, see your doctor. You can find more information in this factsheet:

 AXA PPP healthcare asked: A question about support from Facebook: My partner has just been diagnosed with Bowel Cancer and I'm terrified. He's been speaking to the doctors about what happens next and I want to support him as best I can. What should I expect over the next few months and what can I do to support him?

Sue Airey and Dr Poonam Chouhan answered: Thank you for getting in touch. We are sorry to hear about your partner. It can be a very difficult time for you both. Treatment for bowel cancer is very individual. You may wish to speak to his GP about what is likely to happen for him over the next few months or his Clinical Nurse Specialist from the hospital team looking after him. Going with him to his appointments can be very supportive - sometimes it is just helpful to have someone else there to listen to what is happening, as it may be difficult for him to take in all the information at once.

The Nurse Specialist may be able to tell you about local support organisations which may be helpful. Organisations like Macmillan have a support line (0808 808 0000) which is open Monday-Friday 9am-8pm. Sometimes it is helpful to find out a bit more about the condition - a lot of information is available on our website:

Anonymous339 asked: Hi, so over 90 % curable if caught early! what exactly does caught early mean? What stage?

Sue Airey and Dr Poonam Chouhan answered: Thank you for getting in touch. If bowel cancer is caught at an early stage - that is, when it is contained within the lining of the bowel before it has spread into or outside the bowel wall (Dukes' A) - 93% of these patients are likely to be able to live for more than 5 years. There is good information available from Cancer Research UK here:

Anonymous339 commented: The link is very helpful, thanks Anonymous339 asked: If BC removed via operation, what chance of it coming back into bowel at later date.

Sue Airey and Dr Poonam Chouhan answered: The chances of bowel cancer returning after an operation depends very much on each individual person and we would expect this to be discussed in detail by the colorectal surgeon.

Anonymous339 asked: Who's job is it to educate doctors that young people can get it to?

Sue Airey and Dr Poonam Chouhan answered: This is a very good question. Bowel Cancer UK has been doing a lot of work to raise awareness that younger people can also get bowel cancer through our "Never Too Young" campaign - here is the link:

Anonymous339 asked: I had low anterior resection, and reversal, will I still get all the nutrients I need?

Sue Airey and Dr Poonam Chouhan answered: Thank you for this question. It is really useful to highlight that you will be able to get all the nutrients even after this surgery as your small bowel absorbs the majority of these. However you may find that you have a looser poo and need to have your bowels open more often during the day than before. This does get better over time, although it can sometimes take up to a year or more. If you have concerns, your Clinical Nurse Specialist or Colorectal Surgeon should be able to help.

 AXA PPP healthcare commented: Thank you for running our live chat, it's been really useful.

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