Bowel Cancer Awareness Month is an annual initiative of Bowel Cancer Australia running throughout the month of June to raise awareness of Australia’s second deadliest cancer.

Did you know: Bowel cancer claims the lives of over 80 Australians every week. 2018 Bowel Cancer Awareness Month is all about saving lives through early detection – as bowel cancer is one of the most treatable types of cancer if found early.

What is bowel cancer?

Most bowel cancers start as benign, non-threatening growths – called polyps – on the wall or lining of the bowel.  Polyps are usually harmless; however, adenomatous polyps can become cancerous (malignant) and if left undetected, can develop into a cancerous tumour. In advanced cases, the cancerous tumour can spread (metastasise) beyond the bowel to other organs.

Who can get bowel cancer?

Bowel cancer affects men and women, young and old. It is one of the top five causes of premature death among Australians aged 45-74 and is the seventh leading cause of death among those aged 25-44.

Australia has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world; 1 in 13 Australians will develop the disease in their lifetime.

Any of the below symptoms could be indicative of bowel or rectal cancer and should be investigated by your GP if they persist for more than two weeks.

Help beat bowel cancer! Know the signs to watch out for and visit your GP if you experience:

  • Blood in poo
    Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding
  • Changes in bowel habits
    A recent, persistent change in bowel habit, especially going to the toilet more often of having looser, more diarrhoea-like movements
  • Change in shape
    A change in the shape or appearance of bowel movements (e.g., more narrow than usual)
  • Pain or swelling
    Abdominal pain or swelling
  • Lumps
    Pain or a lump in the anus or rectum
  • Unexplained anaemia
    Causing tiredness, weakness or weight loss
  • Not able to empty
    A feeling that the bowel has not emptied completely after a bowel movement

Lifestyle related risk factors for bowel cancer include; smoking, alcohol consumption, being overweight and a diet low in fibre. These risks can all be modified by changes to lifestyle.

As you age the risk of bowel cancer rises sharply and progressively from the age of 50. A family history of bowel cancer is also a significant risk factor.

Don’t let poo be taboo, if you or a loved one are suffering any of the above symptoms it is important to visit your GP immediately. When diagnosed at the earliest stages, 90% of bowel cancer cases are treatable. Take action, visit the friendly team at Providence Medical and prevent bowel cancer today.

 

Three convenient locations offering a fresh approach to your health care:

Providence Medical Warners Bay
472 The Esplanade, Warners Bay NSW 2282

Providence Medical & Dental, Belmont
Shop 3-6, Belmont Central Shopping Centre, 1 Singleton St, Belmont NSW 2290

Providence Medical Thornton
4 Bunbury St, Thornton NSW 2322

Resources:

Bowel Cancer Australia
www.bowelcanceraustralia.org