Despite recent improvements, efforts to boost cancer survival rates could soon be thwarted by delayed doctor appointments and late referrals. Poor public awareness, however, is also believed to be a strong contributory factor. Efforts are now mounting to raise awareness of the “red flag cancer signs” in a bid to encourage people to take up invitations to NHS screenings. Doctor Earim Chaudry, Medical Director of the men’s health platform Manual, explains that two signs when going to the toilet warrant medical attention.
“It’s vital that people are aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer, to help catch it as early as possible.”
The proliferation of cells – one of the hallmarks of the disease – typically produce symptoms at the site of the body where they are spreading.
In some instances, however, indicators may be signalled in other parts of the body.
The matter excreted by our body will often reflect the pathology of cancer. And the presence of blood, in particular, can be very telling.
Doctor Chaudry, explained: “Seeing blood when you go to the toilet is one of the first signs of a bladder, kidney or colon cancer.
“If you see blood in your pee, or when you poo, especially if that’s not normal for you, you should book an appointment with your GP”
“More often than not, the issue is caused by something less serious than cancer, such as haemorrhoids or a urinary infection.
“While your doctor will be able to treat these if the problem is more serious, they can identify and begin the stages of treatment.”
“This will include things like the need to pee more frequently throughout the day and especially at night, a sudden, urgent need to go to the toilet, slight dribbling or leaking of pee, a weak stream of urine, and a burning sensation when urinating,” explained Chaudry.
“Often, these symptoms are caused by an enlarged prostate gland. However, they can also be caused by prostate cancer.
“If you or your partner has noticed these things happening, see your doctor.
“They can give you an examination, and see if your prostate is enlarged. They may also book you in for a specific blood test called a Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) which can identify this form of cancer.”