Bowel cancer red flags

A new poll commissioned by Bowel Cancer UK reveals that over a third of adults in Scotland (38 per cent) are not aware of any symptoms of bowel cancer – the country’s second biggest cancer killer.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 4:45 pm
Bowel is the second biggest cancer killer in the country but people still don't know the symptoms.

With April being Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, the charity has released new survey results which show too many people remain unaware of the warning signs.

One of the key ‘red flag’ symptoms is seeing blood when you go for a poo, either from your bottom or in your poo – only just over a quarter of people are aware of it (29 per cent).

The other four main symptoms, experienced by many who go on to be diagnosed with the disease, have an alarmingly low rate of awareness too – abdominal pain (14%), weight loss (11%), change of bowel habit (8%) and unexplained tiredness/fatigue (3%).

Sign up to our daily The Southern Reporter Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Genevieve Edwards, chief executive at Bowel Cancer UK.

Bowel Cancer UK commissioned the new YouGov poll of 2470 UK adults to gauge awareness of the symptoms of Scotland’s third most common cancer. Knowing the key symptoms and visiting your GP if you have any of them, or if things don’t feel right, can help increase the chances of an early diagnosis.

Bowel cancer is treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early. Nearly everyone diagnosed at the earliest stage will survive bowel cancer but this drops significantly as the disease develops.

Early diagnosis really does save lives, but only around 15 per cent of people are diagnosed at the earliest stage of the disease in Scotland.

Genevieve Edwards, chief executive at Bowel Cancer UK, said: “Bowel cancer remains the second biggest cancer killer in Scotland – it’s shocking that people aren’t aware of the symptoms to look out for.

"If you notice any signs of bowel cancer, or if things just don’t feel quite right, please visit your GP. While the disease largely affects people over the age of 50, around 2500 under 50s are diagnosed each year in the UK, so it’s really important people seek advice as soon as possible – whatever their age – if they’re worried.”

The charity will host a Facebook live event on Friday, April 16, at 12.30pm if you want to learn more about the symptoms and how to reduce the risks at

You can visit the website at