Men’s Health Week – Colon Cancer Symptoms in Men

Men’s Health Week – Colon Cancer Symptoms in Men

From 12 – 18 June 2017, is Men’s Health Week, where organisations around the world focus on raising awareness of common health concerns faced by men. This year the campaign is centred around excess belly fat and the risks that are associated with this. This includes an increased risk of colorectal cancer, also known as colon, or bowel cancer. Find out about symptoms, prevention and treatment.

Rise in bowel cancer in men

In recent years, bowel cancer cases report to have increased by almost one third, in the UK alone.

In 2013, Cancer Research UK produced figures showing that over 35 years, the number of bowel cancer cases had increased by almost 30%, compared to women where cases had increased just 6%.


  • From 1975 to 1977, there were 45 cases of bowel cancer per 100,000 men
  • By 2008 to 2010, this had risen to 58 cases per 100,000
  • This shows an increase of 29% in, broadly, 35 years

Overall, colon cancer is the 4th most common cancer in the UK, however it is the 2nd biggest cancer killer. 

Newer research shows that in 2014, there were 72 new bowel cancer cases for every 100,000 men, showing another steep increase.

In addition, of the 41,265 new cases diagnosed in 2014, 22,844 were in men, equating to 55%.

Preventative methods need to be taken, and early diagnosis is essential. 

Colon cancer symptoms in men

Bowel cancer symptoms are similar for both men and women and they are also similar to other conditions, which is why specialist diagnosis is the only real way to determine bowel cancer.

Also, at times there are no symptoms at all, which makes bowel cancer screening essential if you are considered higher risk.

Higher risk includes:

  • Over 60 year olds – 80% of bowel cancer cases are in people over 60 years of age
  • Over 50 years olds – 90% are in people over 50 years of age
  • Men – The risk of a man getting bowel cancer is 7% (compared to 5% in women)
  • Family history – if members of your family have suffered from bowel cancer, this puts you as higher risk


  • Change in bowel habit
  • Loose bowel movements or diarrhoea on a regular basis
  • Passing fresh blood in your poo
  • Abdominal pain, or a lump in your tummy
  • A low blood count or anaemia, with low iron stores could be a sign you are bleeding from you bowel
  • Shortness of breath or excessive tiredness, linked to anaemia
  • A history of colon polyps
  • A family history of bowel cancer
  • No symptoms

Bowel cancer screening saves lives

Whilst bowel cancer is a growing concern due to the increasing number of cases, deaths from bowel cancer is decreasing.

In 2014, Cancer Research UK report 15,903 cancer deaths in the UK, 54% of which were in men.

In the last 30-40 years, there has been a 42% fall in deaths due to colon cancer, and 57% now survive more than 10 years following diagnosis.

Death from bowel cancer is largely linked to 2 factors, age plus stage of diagnosis.

As with many health conditions, the easier they are diagnosed, the more chance there is there is of successful treatment.

Simple lifestyle changes that help prevent bowel cancer

Whatever your age, there are general lifestyle choices that can help you remain healthy and reduce the risk of conditions such as bowel cancer. These include:

  • maintain a healthy weight – lose that excess fat!
  • keep physically active – through sport, exercise or just not being sedentary
  • eat a healthy, balanced diet and watch the levels of red meat as this is linked to bowel cancer
  • drink less alcohol – particularly linked to men
  • stop smoking

Men’s Health Week – 12-18 June 2017

This year the campaign for Men’s Health week is focusing on belly fat.

The reason for this is that this particular type of fat is bad for your health and it is more common in men, than women. Fat like this can, not only shows on the surface, but also penetrates underneath and can surround your vital organs.

As well as an increased risk of colon cancer, excess belly fat can also cause conditions such as:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • Premature death from any cause
  • High blood pressure

Use the initiatives around Men’s Health Week to visit a doctor to see if you are overweight and start to take measures to protect your health and your future.


Important information