June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month
In Australia during the month of June, attention turns to raising awareness for bowel cancer and preventative detection.
Bowel cancer is second only to lung cancer in claiming lives in Australia with 77 people passing away each week. Bowel cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in Australia and it is also one of the most treatable.
One of the biggest initiatives in educating Australians about the prevalence of bowel cancer, bowel cancer awareness month centres around early detection to increase the likelihood of treating and beating the disease.
What Can You Do?
Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) testing is the preferred method endorsed by the Australian government in screening people with no concerning symptoms for bowel cancer. Even if you do not have a family history of bowel cancer, it is important to screen yourself once every two years, especially if you are over the age of 50. FIT testing which can detect small amounts of blood in bowel movements
Bowel Cancer (FIT) screening kits can be used at home and may aid in reducing your risk of bowel cancer. These FIT kits can help identify individuals at risk of pre-cancerous polyps or bowel cancer and a positive test is a strong indication to undergo a colonoscopy.
The detection and removal of pre-cancerous polyps during a colonoscopy has been shown to reduce the risk of death from bowel cancer and early detection of bowel cancer makes it more likely that it can be cured with surgery.
If there is a family history of bowel cancer you can consult with your GP and discuss prevention measures and the best strategy for bowel cancer screening.
It is important to see your GP if you are having any bowel symptoms. Your GP will be able to assess these and arrange for you to have further appropriate investigation.
Dietary and lifestyle habits can make a big difference to prevent bowel cancer. A high fibre diet has been shown to provide a degree of protection against bowel cancer and excessive consumption of processed and red meat may increase the risk.
Being physically active and maintaining a healthy body weight can create a healthier lifestyle, an improved sense of wellbeing and can also reduce your risk of bowel cancer.
For more information about bowel cancer awareness or FIT testing kits please speak to your GP or Pharmacist or visit the link below.