Bowel cancer risk increases significantly when two or more alcoholic drinks are consumed per day.
Please discuss with your GP before taking aspirin.
During childhood and adolescence, be as lean as possible within the normal range of body weight. From age 21, maintain body weight within the normal body mass index (BMI) range.
Throughout adulthood, avoid weight gain and increases in waist circumference.
Nearly 2 in 3 Australian adults (63%) are overweight or obese.
Include dairy products such as low-fat milk, yoghurt, and cheese, in your daily diet. If you are lactose intolerant or need to avoid dairy for other reasons, speak with your GP or a nutritionist about a daily calcium supplement appropriate for you.
Less than 6% of Australian females aged 19-50 years consume more than 2 serves of dairy or dairy alternatives per day, and only 14% of Australian males in the same age bracket do. Consumption of dairy and dairy alternatives among Australians aged 51-70 is even less, with around two-thirds of both males and females getting less than 1½ serves per day, and one-third of Australians over age 70 consume less than 1 serve of dairy or dairy alternative daily.
Aim to be physically active where the heart rate is elevated, every day in any way for 30 minutes or more. As fitness improves, increase the length of time you are active to 60 minutes or engage in more vigorous activity. Limit sedentary habits such as watching television.
People who participate in screening programs reduce their risk of dying from bowel cancer by 16% compared to those who don't participate.
Most bowel polyps are adenomas, which may develop into bowel cancer. Removing bowel polyps that are larger than 1 centimetre (cm) may lower the risk of bowel cancer. It is not known if removing smaller polyps lowers the risk of bowel cancer.
The removal of polyps means those polyps are unable to become precancerous and develop into bowel cancer in the future. Please note: the possible harms of polyp removal during colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy include a tear in the wall of the bowel and bleeding.
Participate in screening appropriate to your personal level of risk.
Only 42% of people invited to participate in the tax-payer funded National Bowel Cancer Screening Program actually do.
Eating too much red meat (e.g. beef, lamb, pork, goat) has been linked with an increased risk of bowel cancer.
Eating processed meats such as bacon, ham, salami and some sausages has been strongly linked with an increased risk of bowel cancer.
Australians aged 19 years and over consume an estimated average of 560 grams of red meat per week.
Smoking 40 cigarettes (two packs) per day increases the risk of bowel cancer by around 40% and nearly doubles the risk of bowel cancer death.
Almost 1 in 8 Australian adults (13%) smoke daily.
Consuming wholegrains and foods containing dietary fibre decreases the risk of bowel cancer.
Eating 3 servings (a total of 90 grams) of wholegrains a day, such as brown rice or wholemeal bread, can reduce the risk of bowel cancer by 17%.
Fill two-thirds or more of your plate with wholegrains, vegetables, fruits, beans and nuts and no more than one-third with animal protein such as poultry or lean red meat.
Only one-third (34%) of all grain (cereal) foods consumed by Australians are wholegrain or high-fibre products.