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Bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is the third most common type of newly diagnosed cancer in Australia. Affecting 1 in 13 people, or 15,604 Aussies a year, bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer.

The month of June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, and places a strong focus on regular bowel screening, early detection and removing the stigma surrounding this disease. Many people find the topic off-putting, embarrassing or simply unpleasant, and so will avoid doing the test or delay seeing their GP.

It is so important to understand that 98% of bowel cancer cases can be treated successfully if detected early. Sadly, fewer than 50% of cases actually are detected early.

Bowel cancer affects men and women and can occur at any age, and often will develop without any symptoms.

The best way to combat this disease is do regular bowel screening tests (every 2 years for people over 50 and every two years for people from age 45 with a family history of bowel cancer), or talk to your GP about any concerns or questions you have regarding your bowel health. Another fantastic resource is the Bowel Cancer Australia website, which provides a lot of great information and resources about this disease.

With bowel cancer cases increasing, raising awareness is such an important part of fighting this disease. Having open discussions, taking the test and making good life-style choices can go a long way in helping in the fight against bowel cancer.

And remember: Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late!