BOWEL CANCER: Don't wait until it's too late
BOWEL Cancer Australia is asking both men and women over 50 to take action now to combat the disease.
It is preventable and if caught early - almost 90% of cases can be treated successfully.
Gastroenterologist surgeon Associate Professor Graham Newstead said doing nothing was not an option when it came to bowel cancer.
"The risk of bowel cancer rises sharply and progressively from the age of 50," Prof Newstead said.
"So if you are aged 50 and over, you need to talk to your GP about how to minimise your risk of developing the cancer.
"Bowel cancer is the second most common type of newly diagnosed cancer in Australia, with the majority of people diagnosed aged 50 years and older.
"So being aware of bowel cancer and taking steps to reduce your risks and detect it early, are paramount.
"This may mean screening for bowel cancer by way of a bowel cancer screening test every one or two years, or have a colonoscopy if you are at an above-average risk of developing the disease," he added.
- Age - the risk rises sharply and progressively from the age of 50.
- A family history of bowel cancer.
- A personal history of cancer of the colon, rectum, ovary, endometrium, or breast.
- A history of polyps in the colon.
- A history of ulcerative colitis (ulcers in the lining of the large intestine) or Crohn's disease.
- Hereditary conditions, such as familial adenomatous polyposis and hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer.
- A change in bowel habit.
- A change in appearance of bowel movements.
- Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding.
- Frequent gas pain, cramps or a feeling of fullness or bloating in the bowel or rectum.
- A feeling that the bowel has not be emptied completely after a bowel movement.
- Unexplained anemia causing tiredness, weakness or weight loss.
- Rectal or anal pain or a lump in the rectum or anus.
- Abdominal pain or swelling or a lump or mass in your tummy.
For more information, see your GP or go online to www.preventbowelcancer.org.