Bowel cancer is diagnosed in about 3,700 Victorians and over 12,500 Australians every year.
Also called colorectal cancer, this serious disease mostly affects people aged 50 and over. However, it can happen in younger people too.
The good news is that if bowel cancer or its warning signs (polyps) are diagnosed early, it is often curable.
Symptoms of bowel cancer
In the early stages, bowel cancer often has no symptoms. This means that a person could have polyps or bowel cancer and not know it.
Some of the most common symptoms of bowel cancer are:
- Blood or mucus in faeces or on toilet paper
- An unexpected change in bowel habit (e.g. diarrhoea or constipation for no obvious reason)
- general discomfort in the abdomen (feelings of bloating, fullness, pain, cramps)
- constant tiredness
- weakness and paleness.
Having these symptoms doesn’t mean that you have bowel cancer. If you’re experiencing these symptoms you should discuss them with your doctor at PVH Medical.
Screening for bowel cancer
90% of bowel cancers can be successfully treated. That is why screening is so important.
Bowel cancer screening is looking for early changes in the bowel lining, or signs of a bowel cancer in healthy people who do not have symptoms.
Screening can find polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. It’s one of the most effective ways to prevent bowel cancer developing.
A simple home test could save your life
If you’re aged between 50 and 74, you’ll receive a free home testing kit from the government. Do the test – it could save your life.
If you don’t receive a kit, check this online calculator or call the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program Information Line on 1800 118 868 to see when you will.
The Cancer Council recommends doing a screening test every two years to protect yourself against bowel cancer.
Talk to us about bowel cancer
If you’re over 50 you should talk to us about the screening tests, so that any signs of bowel cancer can be picked up early.
We have both female and male doctors in Pascoe Vale to help you with any questions you may have.
Together let’s fight bowel cancer!