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COTA
Fraud Week 2016

Bowel cancer awareness month - Saving Lives Through Early Detection

31/5/2016

Bowel Cancer Awareness Month is an annual initiative of Bowel Cancer Australia running throughout the month of June (1 - 30 June each year), to raise public awareness of a disease that claims the lives of 77 Australians every week.

What is bowel cancer?

Bowel cancer is a malignant growth that develops most commonly in the lining of the large bowel. Most bowel cancers develop from tiny growths called 'polyps' - though not all polyps become cancerous.

Bowel cancer is the second most common type of newly diagnosed cancer in Australia affecting both men and women almost equally and is Australia’s second biggest cancer killer after lung cancer. But the good news is, there are actions you can take both to reduce your risk of bowel cancer and to catch it early.

Preventative measures...

Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the chance of getting cancer.  By preventing cancer, the number of new cases of bowel cancer in the Australian population is lowered. Hopefully, this will lower the number of deaths caused by bowel cancer over time.

While no cancer is completely preventable, it is estimated that changes in diet and physical activity could reduce the incidence of bowel cancer by up to 75%. These include:

  • Regular physical activity is linked to a decreased risk of bowel cancer.
  • Data shows convincing evidence that foods containing dietary fibre protect against bowel cancer
  • Studies show garlic, milk (9% decreased risk per 200g/day), and calcium (22% decreased risk for groups with the highest calcium intakes – dietary and supplemental sources) probably protect against bowel cancer.
  • Taking aspirin every day for at least five years decreases the risk of bowel cancer and the risk of death from bowel cancer. (Please note: the possible harms of aspirin use include a higher than normal risk of bleeding in the stomach, intestines, or brain. Please discuss with your GP.)
  • Limit intake of red meat and avoid processed meat.
  • Limit consumption of alcohol to no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women, with two alcohol free days a week.
  • Maintain a healthy weight

For more information on measures you can take to prevent bwel cancer visit: https://www.bowelcanceraustralia.org/risk-factors/prevention-causes

Early detection saves lives

Bowel Cancer Awareness Month has a positive message – saving lives through early detection – as bowel cancer is one of the most curable types of cancer if found early.

Bowel cancer screening involves a test for bowel cancer in people who do not have any obvious symptoms of the disease.

Bowel cancer can develop without any early warning signs.  The cancer can grow on the inside wall of the bowel for several years before spreading to other parts of the body.

Often very small amounts of blood, invisible to the naked eye, leak from these growth and pass into bowel movements before any symptoms are noticed.

A bowel cancer screening test called a Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) can detect these small amounts of blood in bowel movements. The test looks for blood in your bowel movement, but not for bowel cancer itself.

Screening using a faecal immunochemical test is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of bowel cancer as it can help detect pre-cancerous polyps for removal during colonoscopy or cancer in its earliest stages when it is easier to treat and cure.

For more information on screening visit https://www.bowelcanceraustralia.org/screening

What now?

Follow the links above or visit  https://www.bowelcanceraustralia.org/ for more information about bowel cancer, what it is, how it develops, treatment and prevention - or talk to your own GP.