1152x336 website header Bowel Cancer in Men The Facts

Bowel cancer and men – the facts

• 1 in 11 Australian men will develop bowel cancer in their lifetime.
• Bowel cancer affects men of all ages - and risk increases every year from age 50.
• Around 55% of all Australians diagnosed with bowel cancer are men.

Choices you make related to diet, lifestyle, screening and surveillance can influence your bowel cancer risk.

Because you can change or modify these risk factors, they are referred to as ‘modifiable’.

Increased age, personal and family health history and hereditary conditions can also influence your bowel cancer risk.

Because you cannot change these risk factors, they are referred to as ‘non-modifiable’.

Bowel cancer and men – the impact

• Bowel cancer is Australia’s third leading cause of cancer deaths in men.
• More than 8,000 Australian men are diagnosed with the disease each year.
• Around 1,149 (13.7%) of those men diagnosed with bowel cancer are under the age of 55.
• Over 2,300 men die from the disease each year, more than double the National road toll for men.

1152x168 BCA Banner Ad Bowel Cancer in Men 1 in 11

Bowel cancer and men - prevention

Symptoms

In its early stages bowel cancer often has no obvious symptoms; however, any of the following may be suggestive of bowel cancer:

• Persistent change in bowel habit (looser more diarrhoea-like bowel movements, constipation, or smaller more frequent bowel movements)
• Change in appearance of bowel movements
• Blood in the bowel movement or rectal bleeding
• Unexplained tiredness, weakness or weight loss
• Abdominal pain, especially if severe
• A lump or pain in the rectum or anus

Not everyone who experiences these symptoms has bowel cancer. Other medical conditions, some foods and certain medicines can also cause these changes.

However, if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms for more than two weeks, don’t delay in talking to your GP about them.

Early detection could save your life.

No matter your age, you should never be told that you are “too young” to have bowel cancer.

Family History

Most men who develop bowel cancer have no family history of the disease.

However, having relatives, especially first-degree relatives such as parents, sisters, brothers or children with bowel cancer significantly increases your risk of developing bowel cancer.

This risk is increased even further if you have a history of bowel cancer in:
• one or more first degree relatives (parents, siblings, children) diagnosed younger than age 55
• two or more first degree relatives (parents, siblings, children) diagnosed at any age

If you have a family history of bowel cancer it is advisable to consult your doctor for specific advice regarding bowel cancer surveillance / screening.

For further details visit the bowel cancer risk factors page on the Bowel Cancer Australia website.

Diet & Lifestyle

Choices you make related to diet, lifestyle, screening and surveillance can influence your bowel cancer risk.

Because you can change or modify these risk factors, they are referred to as ‘modifiable’.

For the latest information on modifiable risk factors for bowel cancer – including consumption of red and processed meat, alcohol, fruits and vegetables, fibre and engagement in physical activity – download our free resource - visit Bowel Cancer Risk: Diet and Lifestyle.

 Modifiable Bowel Cancer Australia Risk Factors 1152

Screening & Surveillance

Bowel Cancer Australia recommends that people participate in screening appropriate to their personal level of risk.

For people at average risk, screening involves a simple at home test.

You are considered to be at average risk if you have no symptoms, no family history and no more than one first degree relative who has been diagnosed with bowel cancer aged 55 and over.

A positive result does not necessarily mean bowel cancer but requires timely investigation by colonoscopy. See your GP for a referral.

A negative result does not mean you do not have, or can never develop bowel cancer, and it is recommended that you repeat the test every 1-2 years.

However, if you develop any bowel cancer symptoms see your GP immediately.

BowelScreen Australia® screening tests can be purchased from participating community pharmacies, online at bowelsecreenaustralia.org and over the telephone on 1800 555 494.

Regular surveillance may be recommended by a specialist for people with a family or personal history of bowel cancer and/or if they are considered to have a high bowel cancer risk.

For further details visit the bowel cancer risk factors and 'Bowel Cancer... You're Never Too Young' pages on the Bowel Cancer Australia website.