Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

Disability Services & Aged Care Support - ConnectAbility

The month of June is Bowel Cancer Awareness month here in Australia, this month long initiative is designed to help bring awareness to Australia’s second deadliest cancer, and to raise much needed funds for leading organisations, and community-funded efforts to help with the prevention, early diagnosis, research, and treatment options for those suffering or affected by bowel cancer.

What is Bowel Cancer?

What is Bowel Cancer?

Bowel cancer is also known as colorectal cancer, and can affect any part of the colon or rectum. Depending on its location can be called colon cancer or rectal cancer, both the colon and rectum are part of the large intestine.  Bowel cancer occurs when cells in the bowel lining become abnormal, and they start to divide and grow in an uncontrolled way.

Bowel Cancer Awareness Month | Bowel Cancer

Symptoms and Testing

The risk of developing most cancers generally increases as you get older, around the age of 50, but this does not seem to be the case with bowel cancer, it affects both men and woman, young and old.  So, knowing the symptoms can help in detecting this disease early on and potential save you, or a loved ones life.

Common symptoms include:

  • Change in bowel habit, with diarrhoea, constipation
  • Thin bowel movements
  • Blood in the stools
  • Abdominal pain, bloating or cramps
  • Anal or rectal pain
  • A lump on the anus or rectum
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue

If detected early, bowel cancer can be successfully treated in more than 90% of cases. The Australian government created an initiative called The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (the Program). In 2018, a new immunochemical faecal occult blood test kit was introduced to the program, this new kit is designed to screen for blood in your stool sample. There may be a few different reasons why blood is found in your sample, so seeing a doctor and receiving a check-up following this test could also help diagnose any other health related problems.  This programs aim is to help detect bowel cancer early and reduce the number of Australians who due each year from this disease.

For people aged 50 to 74, the tests are delivered to your home for you to complete and send back for testing and the results are usually through in within two weeks.  By the end of 2020, all eligible Australians aged between 50 and 74 years of age will be invited to screen every two years, which equates to around four million Australians every year.

By bringing bowel screens to your home in test kids and making it available for people who do not have obvious symptoms of the disease we can help to reduce the number of lives lost by this deadly disease.

If you haven’t received your kit, please visit here to find out how to order, or call


1800 118 868

8:30am –to 5pm Monday to Friday (except public holidays)

Test Kit Helpline

1800 930 998

8:30am –to 5pm Monday to Friday (except public holidays)

Are Polyps cancerous?

Benign tumours of the bowel are called polyps, these polyps do not spread to nearby tissue or other parts of the body, and they can be easily removed during a colonoscopy.  If benign polyps are not removed from the large intestine, overtime they may become malignant, and turn into bowel cancer.

Bowel Cancer Awareness Month | Bowel Cancer

Treatments and Support

The treatment plan offered will depend on the location of the cancer. While surgery is a common treatment for removing the cancer from the bowel area, some people may also require chemotherapy, or radiotherapy to help reduce tumours and to prevent any further progression of the disease.

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the above symptoms please contact your local GP to talk about initial testing and to discuss your health, results, treatment, and options.

ConnectAbility can provide counselling to help support families during difficult periods of their lives. Contact us on 02 49621000 or email, to learn more about our counselling services and how to get support for you or a loved one.

Get involved

Bowel Cancer Australia is recommending hosting a virtual brunch, to help keep support people and their families living with bowel cancer. If you could more information, please follow this link

Bower Cancer Australia is 100% community funded, and they receive no government funding. So, they require the help and generosity of individuals and companies.  If you would like to get involved here are some ideas to help get you started.

  • Morning Teas
  • Trivia Nights
  • Fun Runs
  • Auctions
  • Dress up days
  • Cycles
  • Head shaves
  • Golf days
  • Sporting events

A full list of ideas can be downloaded here:

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