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

The main symptoms of small bowel 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 in the small bowel
  • diarrhoea.

These symptoms may be caused by many things other than small bowel cancer. But you should always get these symptoms checked by your doctor.

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

  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • pain in the tummy (abdomen)
  • feeling bloated.

Rarely, a blockage in the small bowel can cause the bowel to tear. This is a serious condition that usually happens suddenly and 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 emergency department (A&E).

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