Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK, affecting about 30,000 people per year.

The first symptoms of the disease can be very subtle and gradual.

Common symptoms include

  • -rectal bleeding, often mixed in with the motions. Blood may be slightly dark in colour but can occasionally look fresh.
  • -change in bowel habit to looser or more frequent motions for upwards of 6 weeks
  • -significant unexplained weight loss
  • -certain types of anaemia
  • -the presence of a lump in the tummy
  • -a feeling of being unable to clear the back passage

It is important to bear in mind that many of these symptoms can be caused by other conditions and indeed, the majority of people that present with some of these do not turn out to have cancer.


On Consultation

Your specialist will want to ask you some detailed questions about your bowels. They will then want to do an examination of your abdomen and also your back passage. They may use a little camera called a sigmoidoscope to have a look into the rectum in the clinic. It is likely they will want to do further investigations such as a colonoscopy, which is a flexible camera test, to examine the bowel.

If bowel cancer is suspected, biopsies will be taken and the area might be marked with a little tattoo in the bowel to ensure the area is found more easily at any subsequent operation.

The specialist is likely to organise a CT scan of your chest, abdomen and pelvis following this. This is a detailed examination of your body and this is to ensure there is no evidence of worrying areas which may represent a spread of the cancer to other parts of the body. If it is suspected that you have a rectal cancer, then an additional scan called an MRI will be used and this gives us very valuable information in looking at the stage of the tumour and in planning any operation that may become necessary.

When all the results of your investigations are available it will be arranged for you to come back to the clinic to discuss the results. Usually, this will be with a consultant and a specialist nurse present. The consultant will explain to you what treatment is recommended and this often takes the form of surgery. You will have a detailed discussion about the type of surgery and how this will be performed.


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Basingstoke Colorectal
The Hampshire Clinic Basing Road,
Basingstoke RG24 7AL

t. 01256 354747
f. 01256 818005

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