April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

  • April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

Bowel cancer, also known as colon, rectal or colorectal cancer, can occur in both men and women. Almost 2,500 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in Ireland every year. It is also the second most common cause of cancer death in Ireland. If bowel cancer is found early, it can be successfully treated, so therefore early detection is your best protection. Use our online bowel health checker to know the signs and symptoms and get your personalised assessment for your bowel health.

There are steps you can take to reduce your risk of bowel cancer, which include eating well, maintaining a healthy body weight and getting regular exercise, as well as avoiding smoking and limiting your amount of alcohol.

More about risk factors

Symptoms of bowel cancer can include changes in bowel movements, pain or discomfort in your stomach, unexplained weight loss and more. While other conditions can cause these symptoms, it's important to be aware.

More signs and symptoms

Screening for bowel cancer helps detect it at an earlier stage where there is a much better chance of successfully treating it. If you are over 60 you can take part in the national bowel screening programme, BowelScreen.

More on bowel screening

The main treatments for bowel cancer are surgery, chemotherapy, biological therapy and radiotherapy. Find out what these treatments are and how they work.

More on treatments

With early detection key to successful treatment of bowel cancer, the Irish Cancer Society has raised the issue of colonoscopy waiting times in bowel cancer screening with the Government of Ireland.

Learn more

Our booklet Bowel Cancer: What You Should Know is a handy, condensed guide to understanding the risk factors, signs, symptoms and treatment of bowel cancer.

Read booklet

Once your treatment is over, your doctor will want to see you for regular check-ups. This is known as follow-up. Learn more about what's involved after treatment for bowel cancer and find support and resources.

Learn more

Shane's bowel cancer story


Shane realised something wasn't right when he was suddenly experiencing cramping and constipation. Thanks to early detection, his bowel cancer was caught early and successfully treated.

Read his story

How BowelScreen works

Watch this short video from the HSE about how quick and easy it is to get screen for bowel cancer:

Watch video