Signs and symptoms of small bowel cancer

The signs and symptoms of small bowel cancer and when to see your GP.

The main symptoms of small bowel cancer (small intestine cancer) include:

  • cramping pain in the tummy (abdominal pain)
  • weight loss
  • nausea and vomiting
  • tiredness, which is caused by a low number of red blood cells (anaemia) due to blood loss
  • dark or black poo, due to bleeding
  • diarrhoea.

Symptoms of small bowel cancer can be vague. And the symptoms can be caused by things other than small bowel cancer. But you should always get any symptoms you are worried about checked by your doctor.

Sometimes the cancer can cause a blockage (obstruction) in the bowel. This may be a complete or partial blockage. The symptoms of this are:

  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • pain in the tummy (abdomen)
  • bloating.

Rarely, a blockage in the small bowel can cause the bowel to tear. This is a serious condition that usually happens suddenly. It needs to be treated with surgery. The symptoms include:

  • severe pain
  • feeling faint or dizzy
  • abdominal swelling.

If you have any of the symptoms of a blockage or a tear in the bowel, you should go to your nearest accident and emergency department (A&E).

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