DOCTORS have been warning symptoms can easily be mistaken for other conditions during bowel cancer awareness month.

Spire Cheshire hospital, in Stretton, has been raising awareness of the disease as ‘early diagnosis is key’.

Dr Subramanian Ramakrishnan, consultant gastroenterogist at the hospital said: “The biggest problem with bowel cancer is the symptoms can easily be mistaken for other conditions such as haemorrhoids or Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

“Commonly occurring problems such as fresh bleeding from the back passage, persistent change to bowel pattern and tiredness or fatigue may not be thought of as due to bowel cancer.

“There is still a lot of reluctance in our society to talk about bowel related symptoms and therefore in the UK bowel tumours are often diagnosed later in their development which restricts treatment options.”

Patient Sue Dean said she cannot thank staff enough after she was checked out and doctors found a tumour.

The 51-year-old said: “For as long as I can remember I had suffered with gastritis and indigestion and as I got older changes in my bowel habits occurred.

“I bought the usual over the counter medicines and things always settled down but then I had a bout of gastritis that just wouldn’t go away so I eventually went to see my GP, who referred me to Dr Ramakrishnan.”

After examinations, a tumour was found and Mrs Dean was told she would need to have surgery to remove it.

She said: “One of the hardest things I have ever had to do was tell my family and friends that I had a malignant bowel tumour but the professional care and support I received from all the staff within the hospital was second to none.

“My tumour was a carcinoid tumour, which often has few, if any, symptoms, and luckily for me I didn’t require any follow up chemotherapy.

“I have to have yearly scans to ensure it does not return but I will always be thankful for all the support I received from friends and family.”