JUNE is Bowel Cancer Awareness month

Have you seen the recent ad on TV?

You know the one featuring the ‘Dunny’ guy, the ad which makes you immediately look away from the TV or get up and make a cuppa. Yeah that’s right they make some of us ‘squirm’.

Well it’s the ad about those little kits they want to send you and they are actually important when it comes to early detection and saving lives

So what am I actually talking about?

OK, big breath, I remember getting my first kit in the mail, out of the blue, right on my birthday when I turned ??? (a lady never reveals her age).

WT .... yep that’s right ... that’s exactly what I thought also. Immediately I took offence with the Government, because -

a)   they sent it on my birthday, AND

b)  they had now put me in the category of ‘Senior’ – seriously!!! I’m only ???!

The Kit

Yep they sent me the ‘Kit’ for bowel cancer screening, and since it is Bowel Cancer Awareness month I thought I would put my big girl pants on and embrace the truth and talk to you about it.

The Facts

Bowel cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women in Australia and is more common in people over the age of 50.

Now that is an alarming fact.

In 2013, 14,962 new cases of bowel cancer were diagnosed in Australia. The risk of being diagnosed by age 85 is 1 in 10 for men and 1 in 15 for women.

In 2014, there were 4071 deaths caused by bowel cancer in Australia. This represents the second highest number of cancer deaths after lung cancer.

The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, using the Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT), is offered free to people turning 50, 54, 55, 58, 60, 64, 68, 70, 72 or 74 years of age.

By 2020, all Australians aged 50 to 74 will be offered the test free every two years.

But ... don’t be fooled into thinking it only happens to those aged over 50. You are never, ever, to young to develop, or be diagnosed with, bowel cancer

The symptoms

Symptoms of bowel cancer may include:

  1. change in bowel habit with diarrhoea, constipation or the feeling of incomplete emptying

  2. thin bowel movements

  3. blood in the stools

  4. abdominal pain, bloating or cramping

  5. anal or rectal pain

  6. a lump in the anus or rectum

  7. weight loss

  8. fatigue

  9. unexplained anaemia

It should be noted these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have bowel cancer. Your symptoms could be symptoms of a myriad of many other reasons.

The Survival

AND, the good news is the five-year survival rate for Australians diagnosed with bowel cancer is 69%.

So don’t put it off any longer, if you get a Kit, DO IT!

If you are experiencing difficulty with your bowel speak to your GP. Get checked out! You may just need to see a Naturopath or Nutritionist to sort out your diet. 

By Gail Tumes

 

References:

Cancer Council Australia - http://www.cancer.org.au/about-cancer/types-of-cancer/bowel-cancer/

Bowel Cancer Australia -  - https://www.bowelcanceraustralia.org/