07 Jun Get Behind it: June is Bowel cancer awareness month
June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month. Bowel Cancer Australia encourages you to monitor your bowel actions and see your doctor if things change. What follows is a brief summary of facts, symptoms, and a summary of screening procedures. You should see your local doctor if you are concerned about bowel cancer.
Bowel cancer is cancer of the colon (the large bowel) and rectum. It begins with development of polyps in the bowel. Most polyps are harmless. Some can become cancerous.
Anal Cancer is different from bowel cancer and is less common.
Fast Facts for Bowel Cancer in Australia
- Australia has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world
- 1 in 13 Australians will develop bowel cancer in their life
- Bowel cancer is the 2nd biggest cancer killer in Australians
- 80 Australians die of bowel cancer each week
- 25% of those with bowel cancer have a family history
- The risk of bowel cancer increases significantly after age 50
- Many Australians who develop bowel cancer can be successfully treated if detected early, i.e. cure for early detection is over 90%
- However only 40% of Australians with bowel cancer are detected early enough to ensure successful treatment
Symptoms of Bowel cancer
- Blood in the bowel motion / toilet bowl
- Persistent change in bowel motions: frequency, shape, amount
- Severe abdominal or rectal pain
- A pain or lump in the rectum or anus
- Unexplained weight loss
However, there are often no symptoms in the early stages of bowel cancer.
Therefore, screening for bowel cancer is important, especially if there is a family history.
Symptoms and changes in bowel habits depend on the location of the polyps and cancers. The descending bowel is on the left side of the abdomen. Cancer here is associated with constipation, alternating with diarrhoea. The ascending bowel is on the right side of the abdomen. Cancer here is associated with less obvious symptoms, such as, discomfort. Cancer of the rectum is associated with bleeding, a higher sense of urgency to pass bowel motions, and cramping pains.
Lifestyle factors that can reduce your chance of bowel cancer
- Increase your intake of dietary fibre: fruits, vegetables, salads, grains, cereals, seeds, nuts, legumes
- Be moderate with alcohol
- Quit smoking
- Regular fitness activities
- Maintain a healthy weight
Who should be screened for bowel cancer?
You should discuss this with your local doctor, if you believe you have current or recent symptoms, or you have a family history. Australia has free test kits for those over the age of 50. The Faecal Immunochemical tests (FIT) is theprimary screening tool. It is recommended every 1-2 years. A stool sample is taken at home and mailed in.
Colonoscopies are recommended for people with a family history of bowel cancer. This is a medical procedure.
Find more information at www.bowelcanceraustralia.org
Please see you local doctor if you are concerned about changes in your bowel motions and habits.
SHE Physio Pilates can help you with bowel problems such as constipation, inability to pass bowel motions easily, swinging constipation and diarrhoea, haemorrhoids, and fissures. SHE can help you if you are undertaking surgery for bowel problems or recovery.
YES, Pelvic physiotherapy can help with bowel and rectal problems.
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Call on 0408 465 312
Next week: the perfect position for having a bowel motion.
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