It’s Bowel Cancer Awareness Month — get behind it!

18 June 2018

Detecting bowel cancer early saves lives. It’s one of the most treatable types of cancer if found early.

June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month. It’s an initiative of Bowel Cancer Australia.

Australia has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world. It claims the lives of more than 80 Australians every week. But almost 90% of cases can be treated successfully when detected early.

Bowel cancer affects men and women, young and old. Around 80% of people with bowel cancer have no family history. It’s really important to know the symptoms and take screening tests. Having a healthy diet and lifestyle can also help to reduce your bowel cancer risk.

Symptoms

Symptoms of bowel cancer include:

  • a recent and persistent change in bowel habit
  • bleeding from the rectum or blood in the stool
  • unexplained tiredness
  • abdominal pain

If you have symptoms you should see your doctor. Read more about symptoms on the Bowel Cancer Australia website.

During the early stages of bowel cancer, there may be no symptoms. That’s why screening is so important.

Screening

We look after the National Bowel Cancer Screening register. If you’re an Australian aged 50 to 74, we’ll send you a bowel cancer testing kit when you’re eligible. You don’t need to do anything to get the kit. We’ll send it to the address on your Medicare record. You can update your address online.

The test is free, simple and you can do it yourself at home. You can check when you’ll be eligible on the Department of Health website.

Next steps

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Page last updated: 18 June 2018