Urgent warning to anyone with IBS over 'increased risk of silent killer' | The Sun

IRRITABLE bowel syndrome can be agonisingly painful and embarrassing.

The horrible condition affects around 25 per cent of Brits, and most of those are women.

To make matters worse, experts have revealed IBS can increase your chances of developing bowel cancer.

US researchers discovered that a specific bacteria found in the gut of people who have IBS can cause bowel cancer.

The bacteria, known as M. morganii, produces DNA damaging particles that attack the gut and increase the chances of developing the disease.

Bowel cancer is the country's fourth most common form of the disease – after breast, prostate and lung.

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It's also the UK's second deadliest cancer – claiming a tragic 16,000 lives a year.

Lead researcher, Doctor Cynthia Sears of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, US said the study could lead to better screening tools that help doctors identify patients at high risk of colon cancer by taking a poop sample.

"It could also lead to preventative treatments that reduce the cancer-linked bacteria in patients' guts and thus lower their risk of disease," she said.

This is not the first time gut bugs have been linked to IBS.

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Previously, it was discovered that a bug known as Escherichia coli, which is sometimes found in the gut of people with IBS, is also associated with bowel cancer.

"We need to figure out at a molecular level what the mediators are so we can bring something to the bedside, for patients," Dr Sears explained.

As part of the study, published in Science, experts looked at how the bacteria affected the guts of mice.

They found that by blocking the production of the DNA-damaging particles, the scientists could prevent tumour growth in the mice.

The Sun launched the No Time 2 Lose campaign in April 2018 – to call on the Government to lower the bowel cancer screening age to 50 and raise symptom awareness. 

As a result, people in their 50s started to be invited for screening last year.

What are the symptoms to look for?

  1. Bleeding

There are several possible causes of bleeding from your bottom, or blood in your poo.

Bright red blood could come from swollen blood vessels, haemorrhoids or piles in your back passage.

Dark red or black blood could come from your bowel or stomach.

Blood in your stools is one of the key signs of bowel cancer, so it's important to mention it to your doctor so they can investigate.

2. Change in loo habits

It's important to tell your GP if you have noticed any changes in your bowel habits, that lasts three weeks or longer.

It's especially important if you have also noticed signs of blood in your poo.

You might notice you need to go to the loo more often, you might have looser stools or feel like you're not going enough or fully emptying your bowels.

Don't be embarrassed, your GP will have heard a lot worse! Speak up and get it checked.

3. Weight loss

This is less common than the other symptoms, but an important one to be aware of.

If you've lost weight and don't really know why, it's worth mentioning to your GP.

You may not feel like eating, feel sick, bloated and not hungry.

4. Feeling tired

Bowel cancer that causes bleeding can cause a lack of iron in the body, called anaemia.

If you develop anaemia you're likely to feel tired and your skin might look pale.

5. Pain or lump

As with lots of other forms of cancer, a lump or pain can be a sign of bowel cancer.

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It's most likely you'll notice a pain or lump in your stomach or back passage.

See your GP if it doesn't go away, or if it affects how you eat or sleep.

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