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Despite being Australia’s third most commonly diagnosed cancer, bowel cancer patients don’t receive the same level of support as other more common cancers.
The pathway of a bowel cancer patient is often stressful and challenging, resulting in feelings of fear and anxiety. Many patients must undergo a series of investigations before finally receiving a definitive diagnosis, at which time they are faced with life-changing decisions about their treatment and future.
Bowel cancer patients and their families are left to deal with a ‘new normal’ and face a range of issues,which can include ongoing bowel and urinary issues, sexual dysfunction, depression, dietary issues, and in some cases, a permanent colostomy.
To date, the Federal Government has committed $79 million for dedicated breast nurse specialists and $33 million for prostate nurse specialists.
However, Federal Government nurse funding has never been committed to better support bowel cancerpatients during their treatment and care.
We know it is common for bowel cancer patients to see four to six different types of health professionals, making access to a Bowel Care Nurse an incredibly important resource to improve patient care coordination.
The disease can result in psychological, social and emotional issues, which need to be well understood andconsidered by the health professionals delivering bowel cancer care.

A Bowel Care Nurse is a registered nurse who has specialist knowledge and experience caring for patients with bowel cancer.

We serve as a patient’s main point of contact during and beyond cancer treatment, supporting andcommunicating with the patient and their loved ones.

As one of Bowel Cancer Australia’s in-house Bowel Care Nurses, I speak with patients and loved oneson a daily basis through the charity’s free Helpline.

I can also refer patients to another of Bowel Cancer Australia’s unique services, our in-house Bowel Care Nutritionist, Teresa, who provides invaluable adviceto patients following bowel cancer surgery.

Providing an extra layer of support to the trusted relationship patients have with their treating medical teamat a very difficult time and helping to fill an important gap in the health system for bowel cancer patients.

Bowel Care Nurse specialists have a one-on-one relationship with patients and loved ones and support them whilst undergoing treatment and beyond, assessing symptoms and managing care with respect topatient needs and preferences.

Around 8 in 10 bowel cancer patients in independently published Australian research indicated telephoneaccess to a specialist Bowel Care Nurse (83%) or access to a Bowel Care Nurse within hospital (78%) would help improve their care coordination.

Thanks to donations from the Georgopoulos family and Biggest Ever Blokes Lunch, Bowel Cancer Australia is currently supporting the piloting of an integrated Bowel Care Nurse in a hospital and community setting inthe Shepparton region, enabling patients to receive dedicated support from Katie, a local Bowel Care Nurse.

Patients should not be disadvantaged based on the type of cancer they are diagnosed with.

Every bowel cancer patient deserves to have access to a dedicated Bowel Care Nurse.

Through Bowel Cancer Australia’s accredited online learning platform – BowelCancer.Care – we’re also helping nurses around the country to recognise the unique needs of bowel cancer patients, better support and empower their patients.

But much more needs to be done.

Your donation this June will have a direct impact, ensuring we can continue to provide practical and emotional support for the growing number of Australians affected by bowel cancer.

While championing what matters most to people affected by bowel cancer – access to a dedicated Bowel Care Nurse within hospitals throughout Australia.



Fiona Radford

Bowel Care Nurse

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Make a Donation

Your tax-deductible donation will help make real change happen across the continuum of care, from prevention and early diagnosis to research, quality treatment and care for everyone affected by bowel cancer

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Here are some of the ways your donation can help provide practical and emotional support for the growing number of Australians affected by bowel cancer:
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