Smelly poo: This may be a cancer warning

  • Symptoms of cancer vary depending on where the tumor develops that’s why being aware of the changes in your body helps.
  • Having a foul-smelling poo could be a sign of steatorrhoea, which is a warning symptom of pancreatic cancer.
  • Other symptoms of steatorrhoea include pale stools, bulky stools, greasy stools, or loose stools.

When cells in your body reproduce uncontrollably and destroy healthy tissues, chances are, you have cancer. Some cancer symptoms can be mistaken for less serious health conditions and often ignored that’s why recognizing the signs can save your life.

According to the NHS UK, more than a third of all people will develop cancer at some point in their lifetime. Cancer has over 200 different types and you could be at risk if you’re not aware of the symptoms.

Signs of cancer in your poo

Four signs of cancer may be evident in your poo. Having a particularly smelly poo is actually a symptom of pancreatic cancer.

Virtual Medical Centre, a medical website, revealed that having a foul-smelling poo could be a sign of steatorrhoea — a condition where an increased fat accumulates in your stool.


Steatorrhoea may be caused by pancreatic cancer as this type of cancer messes with digestion.

People with the condition may also notice pale, greasy, or loose stools that tend to float.

“Steatorrhoea is a condition characterized by an increase in fat content in stools leading to the production of pale, bulky, offensive and loose stools,” said the Virtual Medical Centre.

Pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer and treatments can cause bowel problems including diarrhea, constipation and steatorrhoea, according to Pancreatic Cancer UK.

“Pancreatic cancer often doesn’t cause any signs or symptoms in the early stages. This can make it hard to diagnose early. As the cancer grows, it may start to cause symptoms,” the agency added.

Taking a long time for your stool to be flushed down the toilet is also cause of alarm. Other symptoms of pancreatic cancer include having persistent diarrhea, stomach pain and unexplained weight loss.

Pancreatic cancer is caused by an abnormal growth in the pancreas – a gland that forms part of the digestive system, according to the NHS.

Factors that increase your risk

It’s rare in people under 40 years old, and about fifty percent of all cases are diagnosed in people over 74 years old.

Factors that can increase your risk of the disease include smoking, being overweight, or a history of other medical conditions, such as diabetes or chronic pancreatitis.

According to, only over a fifth of all pancreatic cancer patients survive for a year after their initial diagnosis.

It’s always best to discuss your symptoms with your doctor.



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