MAN are over 35% more likely than women to be diagnosed with bowel cancer during their lifetime so it’s vital that they can recognise the symptoms, says charity Beating Bowel Cancer.

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK but the second biggest cancer killer, accounting for 10% of all male cancer deaths in the UK.

Currently most bowel cancer cases are not diagnosed until a late stage when it is much harder to treat successfully. If statistics are to improve it’s vital that men become more aware of the symptoms and that they go to their GP as soon as they notice them, says the charity.

Charlotte Dawson, head nurse advisor for the Beating Bowel Cancer Helpline, said: “Although bowel cancer can affect men and women, men are more likely to be diagnosed with the disease.

"Unfortunately they are also more likely to go to the doctor at the last minute when their symptoms are really advanced. They often say they are only there because their partner nagged them.

“Once they are at the GP, they can be vague about their symptoms and the doctor only gets the full story if their partner is with them and they give all the details.

“Frequently they don’t come until they have no choice because they are embarrassed by some of the symptoms and don’t realise that they could be a sign of something as serious as cancer.”

But this delay and lack of awareness could cost sufferers their life.

If diagnosed early 97% of people can be treated successfully, but this drops to just seven per cent if diagnosed at a late stage.

Beating Bowel Cancer ambassador and Everton legend Kevin Sheedy survived bowel cancer himself, as has his father.

However, Kevin lost his mother to the disease when she was diagnosed at a late stage, after initially being misdiagnosed as having irritable bowel syndrome.

Kevin says early diagnosis saved his life and he owes that to awareness of the symptoms and a bit of pressure from his wife Joanne.

He said: “Men are often less willing to go to the GP because of embarrassment. But at the end of the day, that’s what GPs are there for and it really could make a big difference to the outcome.

“I’d lost my mother to bowel cancer so I knew about the disease but when I started to get symptoms myself I recognised them from an awareness advert I’d heard on the radio. My wife was also concerned as she had noticed the amount of loo roll we were going through!

“As soon as I noticed blood in my poo, I knew I had to get checked out as soon as possible. Luckily, because I was diagnosed early I was successfully treated.

"I didn’t need chemotherapy, radiotherapy or a colostomy bag and the sense of relief was amazing.

“The most important thing is to know what symptoms to look out for and if you have any, get them checked out as soon as possible. Doing that saved my life and it could save yours.”

Symptoms Beating Bowel Cancer recommends that anyone experiencing one or more of these symptoms for three weeks or more should go and see their GP:

• Bleeding from the bottom or blood in your poo

• A persistent change in bowel habit, especially going more often or looser stools

• Abdominal pain, especially if severe

• A lump in your tummy

• Unexplained weight loss or tiredness

Beating Bowel Cancer has recently launched their annual Decembeard campaign, which asks men to grow a beard throughout the month of December to take on bowel cancer.

By signing up, you can help to raise awareness of the disease in men, get them talking openly about it and raising funds for the charity, who offer support to all those affected by the disease.

Visit for more details. For more information about bowel cancer, visit Or if you have any concerns or queries, you can contact charity's nurse helpline on 020 8973 0011 or email