The impact of promotion and advertising campaigns on bowel cancer awareness and screening-uptake is clear when reviewing data released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
 
Dating back to 2014, the numbers show more National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) kits are completed in the June and September quarters every year than at any other time, highlighting the important influence Bowel Cancer Awareness Month is having on people’s behaviour.
 

Bowel cancer remains Australia’s second deadliest cancer, yet data released today shows people continue to decline the invitation to participate in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP).
 
In 2017-18, slightly more than 5 million people aged 50-74 were invited to participate in the NBCSP, but only 2.1 million (42.4%) took up the offer.
 

Ahead of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month in June, Australians are being urged that despite uncertainties due to COVID-19, early detection of the disease cannot and should not stop, even during a pandemic.
 
The sharp decline in GP visits for people seeking treatment in the wake of the pandemic could result in bowel cancers being undiagnosed, or prolong the time to diagnosis, leading to poorer long-term outcomes.
 

I joined the Bowel Cancer Australia Board for both professional and personal reasons.
 
I started my career as a physiotherapist and then joined consulting firm, Ernst & Young, as a graduate just over 20 years ago, where I qualified as a Chartered Accountant and built my career as a Risk professional, advising clients on how to create trust and value through strong governance and risk management.
 

Please refer to our Coronavirus webpage for more detailed and up-to-date information.


What does COVID-19 mean for someone affected by bowel cancer?

If you or someone you know has bowel cancer, your concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to extend beyond toilet paper shortages and low pasta supplies.

Inaugural Lawrence Penn Chair of Bowel Cancer Research, Mark Molloy, believes molecular testing of pre-cancerous bowel polyps can reveal why some polyps remain harmless while others turn deadly.

New research suggests individuals with Crohn’s disease are at increased risk of bowel cancer and bowel cancer death.
 
Furthermore, patients with Crohn’s who have bowel cancer are more likely to die from bowel cancer than bowel cancer patients who don’t have Crohn’s.
 

Sex is a sensitive subject to discuss under the most ordinary of circumstances, but it can become particularly delicate to speak about following bowel cancer.

Low energy levels and physical discomfort after surgery can affect how a person feels about wanting to have sex.

Along with regular exercise, a healthy, nutritious diet that includes a wide range of fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains, pulses, good quality protein and essential oils is an integral part of recovery from bowel cancer.

But what happens when the side-effects of the treatment designed to return a person to health make them feel so terrible, they can’t or won’t eat?