“Colon cancer is one of the top three cancers diagnosed in both men and women. One in 77 males and one in 132 females are diagnosed annually.”

National Cancer Register 2019


Cancers of the digestive system include oesophageal, stomach, liver, pancreatic, and colon cancers, all of which are life threatening if only diagnosed at an advanced stage.

A healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk of developing cancer. As there may not be noticeable symptoms at the early stages, regular screenings remain a key measure to identify these cancers early.


Difficulty with passing stools or an inability to completely empty your bowel is referred to as constipation. This may cause you to strain while trying to pass stools and may lead to anal problems such as fissures and haemorrhoids.

Constipation is usually due to insufficient fibre in your diet and not drinking enough water. A lack of exercise can also contribute to the development of constipation. Constipation is usually not a sign of a serious medical condition.

Prevent constipation by:

  • Upping your fibre intake

  • Exercising regularly

  • Using stimulant laxatives or stool softening medication

  • Drinking at least eight glasses of water each day

  • Not delaying passing a stool when you have the urge

Diverticulosis and diverticulitis

Diverticulosis is a condition in which pouches or diverticula form in your intestines. These are generally not harmful. The condition is usually caused by insufficient dietary roughage and fibre, smoking, being overweight, not getting enough exercise, and certain medications.

Diverticulitis occurs when these pouches become inflamed or infected due to them becoming blocked by faeces and tearing, which may cause abscesses.

Diverticulitis can range from mild to severe and can be life threatening when the abscesses rupture through your intestinal wall and cause peritonitis. This will require emergency surgery.

Diverticulitis can also result in a stricture – a narrowing in the area affected – or a blockage of the intestine due to scarring. Another complication is fistulas which can form if infected diverticula form connections with nearby organs.