June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month.
Did you know that bowel cancer is among the most commonly diagnosed cancers in Australia? It is simultaneously one of the most preventable cancers through early detection.
It’s important to know some signs and symptoms that can be indicative of Bowel Cancer. Though many of the symptoms below may be indications of a number of other conditions, it’s important to discuss them with your doctor should you experience them:
- - Bleeding from the rectum (this may be noticed as blood in the stool)
- - Symptoms of anaemia
- - A change in bowel habit (loose stools or constipation)
- - Abdominal pain or cramping
- - Bloating
- - Weight Loss
- - Unexplained tiredness or fatigue.
As bowel cancer is usually slow-growing, early detection is critical as there are often no symptoms in the early stages of the disease.
In order to detect cancer before symptoms occur, the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program sends a free bowel cancer screening kit to Australians aged 50-74 every two years.
Evidence has shown that regular screening can reduce deaths from bowel cancer by 15-25% and prevent between 300-500 deaths each year. It’s important that when you receive your kit, you complete it and return it! Every diagnosis contributes to improvements in treatment options and chances of survival.
Don’t hesitate, bowel cancer screening saves lives!
For more information about bowel cancer, including the risk factors, visit the Australian Government Cancer Australia page by clicking here.