What Age Does Bowel Cancer Start?

What Age Does Bowel Cancer Start

Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in the UK, with nearly 43,000 people being diagnosed with the condition every year.

The cancer claims over 16,500 lives per year, which equates to 45 people every day.

In this article, we will explain the condition in more detail, as well as address the question, ‘what age does bowel cancer start?’

What is the function of the bowel?

The bowel (intestine) is a long, continuous tube, running from the stomach to the anus. It plays a key role in digestion, as well as in fighting germs and regulating the body’s water balance.

Our digestive system is designed to break down the food that we ingest and get rid of the waste.

Firstly, the bowel helps the body absorb the minerals, nutrients and fluids from the foods we consume.

Then, the leftover waste from the food are stored in the bowel, until they are emptied from the body in the form of a bowel movement.

To learn more about bowel health, click here to read our blog article onHow Do You Know if You Have Damaged Your Bowels?

What is bowel cancer?

Bowel cancer (also known as colon or rectal cancer) refers to cancer that begins in the large bowel.

What happens is that a clump of cells called polyps develop in the inner lining of the colon (large bowel). If you have polyps growing inside you, this does not mean you will definitely develop cancer. Polyps can be non-cancerous and they can go away on their own.

A few polyps may continue to grow, which eventually develop into bowel cancer, over a period of several years.

What age does bowel cancer start?

It is a common misconception to believe that bowel cancer only affects older adults.

So, what age does bowel cancer start?

Bowel cancer can develop at any age, but the risk significantly increases as people get older.

The vast majority (94%) of new bowel cancer cases are diagnosed in people over 50 years old.

Between 2017 and 2019, the highest mortality rate for bowel cancer in the UK was in the 90+ age group for both males and females.

Young people under the age of 45 can still get bowel cancer. In the United States, at Yale Medicine Colon & Rectal Surgery, the youngest colorectal cancer patient diagnosed at the location was 18 years old. This demonstrates how bowel cancer can affect anybody, at any time.

What Age Does Bowel Cancer Start

Who is at high risk of bowel cancer?

There are several factors that might put a person at higher risk of developing bowel cancer. These could include:

Is bowel cancer curable?

If the bowel cancer is detected early, then the right treatment can cure bowel cancer and stop it from coming back.

Unfortunately, a complete cure is not always possible and the cancer can still come back at a later stage.

A cure is highly unlikely in more advanced cases that cannot be removed completely by surgery.

But symptoms can be controlled and the spread of the cancer can be slowed, using treatments such as surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and medication.

How is bowel cancer diagnosed?

There are different tests that a patient can take, to find out if they have bowel cancer.

Firstly, you can consult a GP, who will ask questions about your symptoms, how they began, and what makes them worse. The GP may offer you a physical examination to check for any abnormalities. You may also be sent for a blood test, to check your iron levels and that your liver and kidneys are functioning properly.

Additionally, you may be asked to submit a stool sample, which will be analysed at a lab, to help the doctors diagnose or rule out a particular health condition.

If your results don’t come back clear, then your GP may refer you to the hospital for further testing. A specialist at the outpatient clinic will arrange any of the following tests for you:

Whatever happens next, the doctors and nurses will do everything possible to keep you informed, make you feel comfortable, and provide the best care possible.

What Age Does Bowel Cancer Start

Can I test myself for bowel cancer?

Yes, you can take an at-home test, which detects whether there is blood in your stool. This aids in the diagnosis of bowel cancer.

Remember, the earlier you take action if you experience any unusual symptoms, the better it will be for your health.

Here at Official Rapid Tests, we offer an Instant Bowel Cancer Home Test.

This self-test is a rapid lateral flow test for the detection of human occult blood in faeces.

You can take the test in minutes, and then send it to our accredited lab for analysing, using the instructions provided. You will receive your test results and any recommendations very quickly, within just a few days, via email.

Shop our Instant Bowel Cancer Home Test here.

How do I keep my digestive system healthy?

There are many things you can do to maintain good digestive health, such as:

  • Follow a high-fibre diet, to maintain bowel health and promote healthy gut bacteria. Foods that are rich in fibre include whole grains, avocado, prunes, apples, dates, berries, lentils, almonds, sunflower seeds, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, whole wheat pasta and rye bread.
  • Limit your intake of fatty foods, such as fried foods, bacon, processed meals, baked goods such as biscuits and pastries, sugary desserts, heavy cream and butter.
  • Eat smaller, frequent meals, rather than 3 large, heavy meals. This places less stress on the gastric system at any one time.
  • Drink plenty of water, to stay hydrated and aid digestion.
  • Visit a doctor as soon as you experience uncomfortable, persistent symptoms, such as long-lasting diarrhoea or blood in the stool.
  • Take an at-home bowel health test, for early detection of bowel cancer.
  • Attend colonoscopy and bowel cancer screening appointments, so that doctors can detect any potential problems as early as possible.
    What Age Does Bowel Cancer Start

What Age Does Bowel Cancer Start


At Official Rapid Tests, we are a UK Government listed testing provider. We are a team of medical industry experts, with a combined experience of 40 years in the testing, diagnostic and medical services sector.

Click here to purchase our Instant Bowel Cancer Home Test, which aids in the diagnosis of bowel cancer.

Looking to test yourself for Covid-19?

Book a Covid test at one of our test centres, as we have over 120 clinics all over the UK. To book a Covid Test with us at your nearest test centre, click here.

Alternatively, buy a Rapid Antigen TestVideo Supervised Lateral Flow Test or a Covid Recovery Certificate, which you can use as proof that you are fit to travel abroad.

If you are not sure what kind of Covid Test you need, then click here to take our quiz. This will tell you which type of Covid test is suitable based on your travel requirements.

Our Covid tests are perfect for using as proof that you have negative Covid status if you are travelling. With every negative result, you will receive a signed note from one of our doctors, declaring that you are Covid-free and fit to travel internationally.

We hope we have answered the question ‘what age does bowel cancer start?’

Read more articles on travelling, Covid tests and health tests on our blog here.