June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

Bowel Cancer Awareness Month is an initiative by Bowel Cancer Australia to raise awareness about Australia’s second deadliest cancer.

Each year, bowel cancer claims the lives of 5375 Australians, which is 103 Aussies a week. But it is also one of the most curable cancers if caught early. The risk of bowel cancer increases as we age but the disease does not discriminate, affecting men and women, regardless of age. On average, 300 Australians will be diagnosed with bowel cancer this week.

Diet and lifestyle choices, along with screening, can influence your risk of bowel cancer. The American Cancer Society says almost 55% of bowel cancer cases may be attributed to modifiable risk factors – things you can change (modify). Lifestyle factors such as alcohol, body fat, smoking, and eating too much red or processed meats have been shown to increase the risk of bowel cancer. While, dietary calcium, physical activity, polyp removal, and dietary fibre all help to decrease the risk of bowel cancer.

Early detection of bowel cancer is key, and it is important to remember that not everyone will experience symptoms in the early stages of bowel cancer, but you should know the signs and seek advice straight away. Symptoms of bowel cancer include;

· A recent, persistent change in bowel habit

· A change in shape or appearance of poo

· Bloody poo or rectal bleeding

· Frequent gas, pain, cramps

· Unexplained anaemia

· Feeling bowels haven’t emptied completely after going to the toilet

· Pain or a lump in the anus or rectum

· Abdominal pain or swelling

There are of course, many other common conditions that can cause the symptoms listed above. Visit your GP for help if you notice anything unusual, there is no need for embarrassment – your doctor has heard it all before! Many with these symptoms don’t have bowel cancer, but it is so important to have tests done to rule it out.

Share this article and help to raise awareness for bowel cancer month – you might just save a life!

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* This is not medical advice and should not be taken as such. Please see your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. Call Mermaid Central Medical Clinic on (07) 5575 2444 or visit the website www.mermaidcentralmedicalclinic.com.au to make an appointment.

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