Bowel cancer recurrence

Bowel cancer recurrence

When someone has already had bowel cancer and is diagnosed with it again, this can be referred to as recurrent bowel cancer. Unfortunately, when you have cancer there is always a chance it will return.

When the cancer recurs close to the original site, this is known as a local recurrence, but when cancer then develops in another part of the body this is called advanced or secondary cancer.

Why does bowel cancer come back?

Treatment aims to remove or destroy all cancer cells in the body, but unfortunately, it’s not always successful. Occasionally, microscopic cancer cells are either left behind in the bowel or spread to other body parts. This can allow the cancer to come back.

Other times, even though there are no microscopic cancer cells left behind, bowel cancer patients still re-develop cancer at a later date. Whilst we don’t know for sure why this happens, it may be due to the fact they have still some of the risk factors for bowel cancer.

How to prevent bowel cancer from recurring

While we don’t know for sure how to stop bowel cancer recurring, some research has shown that eating a healthy diet, keeping physically active, and maintaining a healthy weight might help to reduce the risk of bowel cancer coming back after treatment. While more research is needed, it is likely that making diet and daily habit changes will help.

> Check out our guidance for more information on preventing bowel cancer
> Get a copy of our Protect yourself from bowel cancer booklet

What are the survival rates for bowel cancer?

Survival rates may vary by factor such as age and gender. More information is available our latest bowel cancer statistics.

Help us fund our pioneering research

We fund pioneering research studies to help progress our understanding of bowel cancer and what we can do to help prevent it. To date, we have funded 54 bowel cancer studies. By donating what you can, we can continue to fund further research and find ways of beating this cancer.

Healthy recipes

Keeping an eye on what you eat is a keyway that might help to reduce your risk of a bowel cancer recurrence. To help you eat well, we have a wide range of healthy recipes for you to choose from. Whether you are looking for breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner or dessert ideas, we’ve got you covered.

Alternatively, we also have a range of cookbooks available for you to download or order. All our cookbooks are free and are there to make home-cooked meals an easier task.

> Healthy cookbooks

FAQs for bowel cancer recurrence