| Isolated, but not alone
If you’ve been diagnosed with bowel cancer. We’re here for you.
15,604 Australians are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year, 1,413 (or 9%) of whom are under the age of 50.
Bowel Cancer Australia provides essential support services uniquely designed for bowel cancer patients and their families via our confidential Helpline with telephone and email support, as well as a national Peer-to-Peer Support Network and Buddy Program.
Our services are underpinned by an unrivalled range of information booklets and factsheets for patients and healthcare professionals.
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.
That’s especially true for bowel cancer patients who are undergoing or have recently completed chemotherapy or immunotherapy, because the likelihood of becoming seriously ill if infected with COVID-19 is much higher, due to a weakened immune system that is less able to fight infection.
Providing emotional support as well as practical tips for minimising the risk of infection during this time, our Bowel Care Nurses and Nutritionist are here to help if you are feeling anxious, have questions or need support.
Click here to contact us or call the free Helpline Monday – Friday on 1800 555 494.
If you are having chemotherapy and develop a fever, you may be neutropenic, and should follow the process that your treating team has put in place for you.
Contact your doctor immediately if you are concerned about your treatment or if you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19 or begin experiencing symptoms.
If you have serious symptoms it is important you seek urgent medical attention straight away. Call 000 for an ambulance.
You can also contact the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.
| Bowel Care Nurses
Bowel Cancer Australia's friendly team of Bowel Care Nurses are at hand to answer bowel cancer questions large and small.
Whether you have symptoms and you don't know what to do; or if you have been diagnosed or have questions about treatment options. Whatever the reason, please don't hesitate to contact one of our friendly, trained Bowel Care Nurses.
Our Bowel Care Nurses understand the needs of bowel cancer patients can be different, adding an extra layer of support to the trusted relationship patients have with their treating medical team at a very difficult time.
Registered nurses provide information and support to anyone with a question or experience related to bowel cancer.
You can email a Bowel Care Nurse any time for advice.
Alternatively, please call Bowel Cancer Australia's helpline on 1800 555 494 during business hours, Monday to Friday.
| Bowel Care Nutritionist
A diagnosis of bowel cancer involves some major changes to diet and lifestyle.
Our Bowel Care Nutritionist, who is also a young-onset bowel cancer survivor, helps with practical advice on food choices during treatment and in recovery.
Offering specific nutritional advice, recipes, menu planning and cooking tips are provided to patients, carers, families and friends.
New high and low fibre recipes are also released online every month.
| Peer-to-Peer Support Network
Bowel Cancer Australia’s Peer-to-Peer Support Network is a voluntary community of people affected by bowel cancer, whether personally or via a family member.
It is Australia’s only national support group for bowel cancer patients, newly diagnosed, living with or beyond bowel cancer, and their loved ones. Including young families and partners, women diagnosed during pregnancy, siblings and parents with children that have been diagnosed with young-onset bowel cancer.
Through the support network, we aim to put people in touch with each other - matching them by age, gender, region and their stage of bowel cancer and treatment pathway.
Partners, relatives and friends of patients also benefit from this service as we are able to put them in touch with other people who have a loved one with bowel cancer.
| Awareness & patient resources
There is no shortage of information on bowel cancer but when it comes to credible information, that’s a different case.
Bowel Cancer Australia has developed a suite of publications covering all aspects of bowel cancer: prevention, early detection, diagnosis, surgery, treatment and care. Including resources uniquely designed for younger people.
Our resources are designed to increase understanding of bowel cancer, treatment (including managing side effects), and how to adjust to the 'new' normal for people living with and beyond bowel cancer.
Please check out our online shop to explore the range of downloable awareness and patient resources.
Many young patients and loved ones choose to share their stories to help raise awareness that you’re never too young to have bowel cancer and to provide support to others.
Often people can find it helpful to read about the experiences of others who have been affected by bowel cancer.
Stories highlight personal bowel cancer experiences, raise awareness of the signs and symptoms and can encourage and inspire others.
Stories are also a valuable resource for other patients and loved ones, who often find it helpful to read about personal experiences of others who are living with or have been affected by bowel cancer.
Check out patient and loved one bowel cancer stories here.
Bowel Cancer Australia’s ‘Bowel Cancer... You're Never Too Young’ initiative was created to provide bowel cancer resources uniquely designed for younger people.
Offering practical and emotional support for the growing number of young people affected by bowel cancer (and their loved ones), championing what matters most to people living with or beyond young-onset bowel cancer, while challenging perceptions through dynamic campaigning that raises awareness and motivates action in all young Australians.
A highlight of the initiative is a dedicated Never Too Young Awareness Week that highlights the unique challenges faced by people who are living with or beyond young-onset bowel cancer.
There are very strong links between diet and bowel cancer, and one of the most important changes following treatment for bowel cancer will be to establish good eating and drinking habits that are both healthy and interesting to help you (and your family) stick to the new routine – as well as minimising problems associated with foods that can be difficult to digest with a surgically shortened bowel.