Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

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June is bowel cancer awareness month to raise public awareness of a disease that claims the lives of 80 Australians every week.

Australia has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world. 14,962 Australians are being diagnosed with bowel cancer each year with 13,647 (or 91%) of whom are aged 50 years and over. It effects both men (55%) and women (45%).

Some risk factors for cancer can be avoided, but many cannot.  Avoiding risk factors and increasing protective factors may lower your risk.

 

  • do an FOBT (stool sample screening test) every two years from age 50.
  • get 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per day.
  • maintain a healthy body weight.
  • eat a well balanced diet.
  • avoid processed and burnt meat; limit red meat intake to three to four times per week.
  • limit alcohol.
  • quit smoking

 

If you have an increased risk such a previous history of polyps in the bowel, previous history of bowel cancer, strong family history of bowel cancer talk to your GP about regular surveillance.

If you have any of the symptoms below

 

  • bleeding from the back passage or any sign of blood after a bowel motion
  • a change in usual bowel habit, such as straining (constipation) to go to the toilet or loose motions (diarrhoea)
  • abdominal pain or bloating
  • weight loss for no obvious reason, or loss of appetite
  • symptoms of anaemia – including unexplained tiredness, weakness or breathlessness.

 

Please arrange an appointment with your Doctor to discuss.