Bowel problems with cancer

This information is about bowel problems that people with any type of cancer might have. These problems may be caused by the cancer or by treatments.

About the bowel

The bowel is the part of the digestive system that goes from the stomach to the back passage (anus). Find out more about the bowel and how it works.

Talking about bowel problems

Doctors or nurses may ask you to describe your bowel habits and what your poo (stool) looks like. The pictures on this page can help you do this.

Types of bowel problems in people with cancer

The two most common problems are diarrhoea and constipation. But people with cancer might also have problems with bowel blockages, passing wind or having a colostomy or ileostomy.

Bowel problems with cancer resources and support

There are lots of organisations, support groups and helpful books to help you cope with bowel problems caused by cancer and its treatment.

Last reviewed: 
29 Nov 2022
Next review due: 
29 Nov 2025