During Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, Cancer Australia is encouraging all Australians to know the facts about bowel cancer, act on early detection and reduce their risk of the disease.
Cancer Australia CEO, Professor Helen Zorbas said 11 Australians die from the disease every day, but if detected early, up to 90 per cent of cases can be successfully treated.
'Bowel cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer with approximately 17,000 Australians expected to be diagnosed this year, and it is also the second leading cause of cancer death," Professor Zorbas said.
'However it is potentially one of the most preventable cancers and we need to talk more about it.
'Although it can occur at any age, the risk of bowel cancer increases with age, with around nine out of ten people diagnosed aged 50 years and over."
The Australian Government's National Bowel Cancer Screening Program is currently inviting all men and women aged 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, and 74 to participate in bowel cancer screening.
'We can reduce the impact of bowel cancer through the early detection of abnormalities during screening. Evidence shows that regular participation in bowel cancer screening can prevent between 300 – 500 deaths each year," Professor Zorbas said.
'Cancer Australia encourages Australians to participate in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program and take up the opportunity for early detection of this disease.
'Lifestyle can also impact on the risk of bowel cancer. Maintaining a healthy body weight, eating a balanced diet and limiting red and processed meat intake, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol intake and quitting smoking can reduce the risk of this disease.
'It's also important for people of all ages to act on the symptoms of the disease. If you experience any symptoms such as blood in bowel motions, changes in bowel habit, unexplained tiredness or weight loss, abdominal pain or bloating, it's important to seek medical attention without delay."
For more information on bowel cancer, please visit canceraustralia.gov.au/bowel