Don't Ignore Bowel Cancer Symptoms and Signs; New Tool To Help In Early Diagnosis [VIDEO]
Bowel cancer symptoms and signs can be confused with those of other illnesses in younger people. But a team of physicians in the United Kingdom have created a risk assessment tool that can catch the disease at an earlier stage to improve a patient's chances of survival.
Bowel cancer is a leading killer in both the UK and the United States among different kinds of cancer, especially in people younger than 50 years of age. Patients in the study in the UK usually did not display any bowel cancer symptoms and signs but they consulted their doctors for related "red flag" symptoms, reported the BBC.
The most common bowel cancer symptoms and signs include abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding and a change in bowel habits. These red flag symptoms were the chief complaints of the patients leading up to the diagnosis of the disease. This highlights the fact that there could have been openings where the doctors could have identified the disease earlier.
To help in the early detection of bowel cancer and related diseases, the Charity Bowel Center UK, the University of Exeter, Durham University and the University Hospital of North Tees have developed a risk assessment tool. The tool analyzes the risk of the patient's symptoms which will allow their personal physician to request more tests or refer them to a specialist or schedule them for further testing, the Express reported.
Deborah Alsina of Bowel Cancer UK believes that delayed diagnosis is very common in younger people. Since the some of the symptoms displayed are not caused by cancer, they are often ignored or diagnosed as a symptom of a different disease. This delayed action often means that treatment options are limited and survival chances will dip.
While the researchers believe the risk assessment tool will help in the diagnosis, it will not take the place of sound clinical judgement by the physician. The tool though will arm them with enough information to base their decisions.