Adele Roberts has shared an update on her experience with bowel cancer, following her “shock” diagnosis in October last year.
The BBC Radio 1 presenter appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain with a shaved head and revealed that she is now undergoing chemotherapy after undergoing surgery to remove a tumour.
Roberts, 42, also told the show that he delayed checking on his symptoms because he “didn’t want to upset the GP” during the Covid-19 pandemic.
She said: “I noticed when I went to the bathroom things started to change and I noticed mucus at first and then I started noticing a little bit of blood and it started to be a bit more regular.
“I thought, ‘Should I call the doctors or not?’ because covid was happening. I didn’t want to upset the doctor, but in the end it became so consistent that I thought I’d better call just in case.”
Roberts now has a stoma, which is an opening in the abdomen that connects to the digestive or urinary system to allow waste to be diverted out of the body.
“I see chemotherapy as my little snipers who get rid of everything that is left,” said the former contestant of big brotheradding that she named her stoma “Audrey.”
Roberts revealed her diagnosis in an Instagram post in October and urged people who may have concerns to see a doctor.
He wrote: “The sooner you can see your doctor or talk to someone, the faster you can get help. If he hadn’t, he might not be so lucky. As I have learned in the last few weeks, there is no “normal” with cancer. Unfortunately, it can affect anyone, at any age, at any time. Does not discriminate. Early detection can save your life.”
What are the symptoms of possible bowel cancer? We have asked an expert to guide us…
What is bowel cancer?
Bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, affects the large intestine, says Bowel Cancer UK.
The large intestine, also known as the large intestine, is made up of the colon and rectum.
When cells in the body begin to divide and multiply in an uncontrolled way, this leads to the development of cancer, explains Cancer Research UK.
Although bowel cancer is more likely to develop in the large intestine than the small intestine, cancer of the small intestine can still occur.
The small intestine contains the duodenum, the part of the intestine that connects to the stomach, and the ileum, the part of the intestine that connects to the large intestine.
When cells become cancerous in the large intestine, they can spread to other areas of the body, such as the liver or lungs. This is called advanced bowel cancer.
What are the main symptoms of bowel cancer?
“It can be easy to miss the symptoms of bowel cancer, and people often attribute variations in bowel movements or inflammation to what they eat or to changes in their bodies as they age. However, putting off seeking help can put people at risk. As with many cancers, bowel cancer is curable if caught early,” says Elizabeth Rogers, Associate Clinical Director and GP at Bupa UK.
“If you notice blood in your stool, changes in your bowel movements, bloating or abdominal pain after eating, see your GP as soon as possible. Don’t put it off, early diagnosis does save lives. Other symptoms can be unexplained weight loss and extreme tiredness for no reason.
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Even if there’s no blood, get checked
The detection of traces of blood is a warning symptom that should never be ignored. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only symptom, so even if there’s no blood, check with your GP. “You should see your GP as soon as possible about any change in bowel movement, bloating, or abdominal pain after eating,” says Rogers.
Pay attention to the changes
When it comes to our bowel habits, what’s normal for one person may be different for another. For example, some people have more bowel movements each day, while others have them much less frequently. A useful parameter is to go to consultation if changes are noticed that result in something unusual for one’s own habits.
“I always advise people to be aware of what is normal for them,” says Rogers, “and to be on the lookout for unexplained or persistent changes, which could be an indicator of cancer.”
What if you already have a history of suspicious digestive symptoms?
Digestive problems are very common and these symptoms do not always indicate bowel cancer. They can also result from conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), food intolerances, or inflammatory bowel disorders, among other causes. This can make it difficult to know when to see a doctor again, especially if these intestinal problems have been persistent. However, Rogers says it’s important to “go to your GP” if you notice any of the changes listed above. If something seems unusual, different, or worrisome, it’s best to go in for a checkup.
Are there people at higher risk of bowel cancer?
Rogers states that bowel cancer is “rare before the age of 40,” but it is possible at any age. Some people may be at higher risk, for example “if you have a family history of bowel cancer, if you have an inherited bowel disease such as familial adenomatous polyposis or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer, also known as Lynch syndrome.”
People with long-standing inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, or who have a history of benign growths (polyps or adenomas) may also be at higher risk. Rogers notes that other factors, such as obesity, smoking, a diet low in fiber or high in processed and red meats, and excessive alcohol consumption, may also be associated with higher rates of bowel cancer.
Do you present any symptoms? Go to a checkup
The disease can also affect healthy and fit people. Roberts is known for her love of healthy living and for being a great runner. So everyone should get checked if she has any symptoms.