The Reliance GP Blog

Beating Bowel Cancer – Don’t wait until it’s too late
Missy Tysoe February 6, 2017

Beating Bowel Cancer – DON’T WAIT UNTIL IT’S TOO LATE

February marks Bowel Cancer Awareness Month. Bowel Cancer is the second most common cause of cancer related deaths in Australia. Around 15,000 people are diagnosed each year. There are both modifiable (things you have control over) and non-modifiable risk factors. Non-modifiable risk factors include; age, family history and pre-existing medical conditions. The good news is; medical check-ups, diet and lifestyle can be modified to reduce your risk, as outlined below.


The Digestive System

The GI tract (gastrointestinal tract) is the system of organs which processes nutrients (vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins and water) from foods and then passes waste out of the body.

The GI tract is made up of the oesophagus, stomach and the small and large intestines. The colon and rectum together are known as the large bowel. The colon absorbs water and the rectum passes waste through the body.


What is Bowel Cancer?

When your doctor talks about bowel cancer (also known as colorectal cancer or colon cancer) they are referring to cancer of the colon or rectum.

Most bowel cancers develop from tiny growths called ‘polyps’. Not all polyps, known as adenomas, can become cancerous (malignant). Over time some polyps can become cancerous.

Cancer can narrow and block the bowel or cause bleeding. In more advanced cases, the cancer can spread beyond the bowel to other organs.


What to look out for.  

SYMPTOMS of bowel cancer

  • A persistent change in bowel habit, such as looser, more diarrhoea-like bowel movements, constipation, or smaller more frequent bowel movements.
  • A change in appearance of stools.
  • Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding.
  • Anaemia, unexplained tiredness or weight loss.
  • Abdominal pain.

Reduce the Risk.  



If you are experiencing any symptoms of bowel cancer, or are at risk due to age or family history, please see your Doctor for initial screening or refereal. Call  4304 1333 to make an appointment

Author: Melissa Tysoe | Stakeholder Engagement & Marketing Officer | Reliance Health


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