Tragically, bowel cancer claims the lives of around 100 Australians every week. It is Australia’s second biggest cancer killer.
But there is some good news. Dying from bowel cancer is highly preventable through early detection. In fact, around 90% of bowel cancers can be treated successfully if found early.
Here’s our top tips to reduce your risk of bowel cancer:
- Do the test when it arrives in your mailbox
We are pretty lucky to live in a place where this life-saving test is delivered free of charge to the homes of all 50-74-year-olds every two years. Taking part in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program is the single most effective way to detect and prevent bowel cancer. This simple, hygienic and non-invasive test looks for the early signs of bowel cancer, when successful treatment is most likely. If you’ve received the test, do it. It could save your life. Find out if you’re eligible for a test and when it’s likely to arrive.
- Quit the smokes
Quitting smoking will reduce your risk not only of bowel cancer, but 15 other types of cancer. There are many health benefits to quitting, along with the financial gains and psychological impacts too. There is lots of information and support available at quit.org.au. You don’t have to go it alone – contact our friendly, qualified Quit specialists on 13 7848 for a personalised approach to your Quit journey. You can do it!
- Eat well and exercise regularly
Enjoying a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and limited amounts of red and processed meats can contribute to reducing your risk of bowel cancer. Cancer Council recommend eating at least two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables each day to help prevent: heart disease, obesity, some cancers and constipation. Here’s some top tips on working more fruit and veggies into your diet.
Getting active is important to reduce the risk of many cancers, particularly bowel, as exercise can help boost your metabolism and get your digestive system moving. Cancer Council recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most or all days of the week and being mindful of your levels of sedentary time. Here’s some top tips on maintaining a healthy weight.
- Get to know your poo
It may sound icky, but getting to know your bowel movements and what healthy looks and feels like could save your life. Bowel cancer can develop without any obvious symptoms, but there are some things to look out for:
- blood in your poo or in the toilet bowl
- a recent and persistent change in your toilet habit, such as looser poos, severe constipation and/or if you need to poo more often than usual
- unexplained tiredness or weight loss
- stomach pain.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important that you speak to your doctor.
Aged 50-74? Complete the at-home bowel cancer screening test when you receive it in the mail. It could save your life.
Source: Cancer Council
The team at Aussie Bloggers also recommend (if you can afford it) is getting a regular colonoscopy which you can read about here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonoscopy