It doesn’t get as much attention as other types of cancer, but bowel cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Australia. It is estimated that 1 in 12 Australians will develop bowel cancer in their lifetime. It can occur at any age but is more common after the age of 50.
Symptoms of bowel cancer:
- The most common symptoms of bowel cancer include:
- A persistent change in your bowel habits
- Blood in your bowel movement or rectal bleeding
- A change in appearance of your bowel movements
- Abdominal pain, especially if it is severe
- Unexplained anaemia (iron deficiency) causing tiredness
If you do experience any of these, it’s important to see your doctor for further investigations.
Bowel cancer can be treated successfully in almost 90% of cases if detected early.
There’s a lot we can do to reduce our risk of bowel cancer. You can lower your risk of bowel cancer by:
- Exercising regularly, moving more and limiting sedentary time.
- Eating a diet high in fibre, particularly wholegrains.
- Consuming adequate calcium, from dairy products and supplements.
- Avoiding processed meats and, if you eat red meat, limiting it to 500g per week.
- If you drink alcohol, limiting this to no more than 2 standard drinks per day.
- Not smoking.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
For further information you should consider speaking with your doctor or the nursing staff. You can also find out more from BowelScreen Australia