Join the movement for Bowel Cancer Awareness Month
JUNE is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and an opportunity to learn and act on the symptoms of the second most common cause of cancer related deaths in Australia.
Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service wants you to become aware and take action to detect bowel cancer early.
In Australia, almost 15,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year and about 80 Aussies die from the disease every week.
Gastroenterologist Dr Andrew Sloss said the good news was 90 per cent of bowel cancer cases could be successfully treated if detected early.
"In our service area in the Sunshine Coast and Gympie region we currently treat 200 patients with bowel cancer each year," Dr Sloss said.
"Prevention and early detection are vital and we urge people to learn about the risk factors and warning signs.
"The risk of bowel cancer increases with age and if you're over 50 this risk increases significantly. Other risk factors for bowel cancer include family history, smoking, excess alcohol intake, lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet."
"There are ways you can reduce your risk of bowel cancer, like maintaining a healthy body weight, eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol intake and not smoking."
"It's important to speak to your doctor or pharmacist about checking the health of your bowels. I urge people over the age of 50 to take advantage of the free National Bowel Cancer screening kits that come in the mail. Early detection of bowel cancer is vital," he said.
The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program provides free screening for bowel cancer to eligible Australians. Currently, Australians aged 50, 55, 60 and 65 are eligible for the program, with people mailed their free screening kit at 50.
It's free, simple and can be done conveniently in your own home. When you receive your kit it is important that you complete and return it as directed.
For information on the screening program, call 1800 11 88 68 or visit www.australia.gov.au/bowelscreening