Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the UK, according to the NHS.
Most people diagnosed with the cancer are over 60 years old.
Symptoms of bowel cancer can be very subtle, and won’t necessarily make you feel unwell.
But, having a persistent pain in your tummy shouldn’t be ignored, and should be seen by a GP.
“Bowel cancer is very treatable but the earlier it is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat,” said charity Bowel Cancer UK.
“If you have any symptoms, don’t be embarrassed and don’t ignore them. Doctors are used to seeing lots of people with bowel problems.”
The NHS added: “Abdominal pain, discomfort or bloating always brought on by eating [could be a sign of bowel cancer] – sometimes resulting in a reduction in the amount of food eaten and weight loss.
“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.”
Another sign of bowel cancer is a persistent change in bowel habit.
That could include passing stools more often, or with looser stools.
Finding blood in your stool should be checked by a GP, too.
Constipation is rarely caused by serious bowel conditions, the NHS said.
The exact cause of bowel cancer is unknown, but you could be more at risk of the disease if you’re over 60 years old.
A diet high in red and processed meat could increase your chances of developing bowel cancer.
Eating more fibre-rich foods could help to prevent the disease.
More than 40,000 new cases of bowel cancer are diagnosed every year in the UK.