Bowel cancer (also known as colorectal cancer) is the fourth most common cancer in the UK. Detection in its early stages allows curative treatment.

At New Victoria Hospital our highly experienced colorectal and gastroenterology Consultants are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of bowel cancer. With access to a world-class endoscopy and diagnostic imaging our team offers a comprehensive service.

In addition to seeing and assessing patients with symptoms we are also able to offer bowel cancer screening.


What is Bowel Cancer?

What is Bowel Cancer?

The intestine is made up of the large bowel and the small bowel. Bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is a cancer that affects the large bowel which includes the colon and rectum.

As with any cancer, bowel cancer involves the uncontrolled division of abnormal cells. While its exact cause is not known, a number of factors can increase an individual’s risk:

  • Age – nearly 90% of bowel cancer sufferers are aged 60 or over
  • Diet – a diet that is high in red or processed meats and low in fibre
  • Weight – those who are overweight or obese are more at risk
  • Exercise – inactivity increases the risk of bowel cancer
  • Family history - those with a close family member who has contracted bowel cancer under the age of 50  are seen as high risk
  • Alcohol – drinking can increase the chances of contracting bowel cancer
  • Smoking – smoking may increase the risk of bowel cancer

Symptoms of Bowel Cancer

While a number of symptoms can indicate the presence of bowel cancer, there are a few that are “high risk” symptoms:

  • Blood in the faeces.
  • A sustained change in bowel habit.
  • Constant lower abdominal (tummy) pain, bloating or discomfort.

Bowel Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

Once you have been referred to New Victoria Hospital by your GP or have booked an appointment with our Consultant Gastroenterologists or Colorectal Surgeons, our specialist diagnostic team will use the latest technology to establish whether you have bowel cancer, and if so, its severity. Diagnostic testing can include a colonoscopy (using a thin, flexible telescope to explore the large bowel), a sigmoidoscopy (using a small telescope to see inside the lower section of the large bowel), scans and blood tests.

If diagnosed with colorectal cancer your Consultant will discuss your case in the colorectal cancer multidisciplinary meeting and advise you on the best course of treatment. Surgery is usually the main treatment for bowel cancer, but it is often combined with chemotherapy, radiotherapy or biological treatments, depending on specifics of the diagnosis.


Bowel Cancer Surgery

Surgery is the most common form of treatment for bowel cancer. The type of surgical procedure and how intrusive it is is dependent on where in the large bowel the cancer is and the stage it is at.

Bowel cancer screening

The majority of bowel cancers begin as non cancerous growths on the wall of the bowel (polyps). Identification and removal of these prevents future cancers. There are a number of screening tests available (stool tests, colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, CT colonography) to help identify these.

There is a national bowel cancer screening programme available to all between the ages of 56-75. Bespoke bowel cancer screening is available and following consultation with one of our bowel cancer screening experts advice will be given as to the best screening test.

How to Book an Appointment

If you would like to receive more information on the bowel cancer surgery and treatments we offer at New Victoria Hospital, please call us on 020 8949 9020 or fill out our online form. Our dedicated Outpatient Team will work to find you an appointment with a Colorectal Consultant at a convenient time on the earliest possible date.

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