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The promising change coming to bowel cancer diagnoses

Plus everything you need to know about bowel cancer.
bowel cancer

The government is making strides around early detection of bowel cancer after it was announced that Australians aged 45-49 are now eligible to participate in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) on an opt-in basis.

The new change was announced in the federal budget. Previously, it was a service that was only available to those over 50. Now, Australians aged 45 and above can opt-in and they will receive a screening test every two years from then on.

This comes off the back of a concerning global trend which has seen a rise in this particular type of cancer diagnoses increasing in people under the age of 50. According to Bowel Cancer Australia, people aged 40-49 account for 56 percent of new cases and 64 percent of deaths in those diagnosed under 50.

Bowel Cancer Australia CEO Julien Wiggins said: “We have been advocating tirelessly for the lowering of the screening age in response to the increasing rates of cancer in younger people.” 

We thank our dedicated and passionate advocates for their ongoing support of our campaign, along with members of the recently established Parliamentary Friends of Bowel Cancer.”

People aged between 45-50 can now be screened for bowel cancer.

What is bowel cancer?

Bowel cancer, which is also known as colorectal cancer, is when growths develop on the inner lining of the bowel. 

According to Bowel Cancer Australia, this type of cancer is the deadliest cancer and the sixth leading cause of death overall for Australians aged 25-44.

What are the symptoms?

There are a range of warning signs that you may have developed bowel cancer, these include:

  • Noticing a change in bowel habits including diarrhoea or constipation
  • Change in the appearance or consistency of bowel movements
  • Blood present in the stool
  • Abdominal pain, bloating or cramping
  • Anal or rectal pain
  • A lump in the anus or rectum
  • Unexplained fatigue

There are also certain risk factors associated with bowel cancer:

  • Low fibre diets
  • High diet of red meat and processed meats
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Tobacco
  • Genetic
  • Crohn’s disease

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