About Bowel Cancer Digestive System 770newfinalThe Digestive System

The gastrointestinal or digestive tract (also known at the GI tract or gut) is the system of organs which remove and process nutrients (vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins and water) from foods and helps pass waste material out of the body.
 
The gastrointestinal tract is made up of the oesophagus, stomach and the small and large intestines.
 
The oesophagus is the hollow muscular tube that moves food and liquid from the throat to the stomach.  The wall of the oesophagus is made up of several layers of tissue, including mucous membrane, muscle and connective tissue.
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About Bowel Cancer Anal-Cancer 770newfinalWhat is Anal Cancer?

Anal cancer is a rare disease, affecting around 398 people a year in Australia (AIHW). It is slightly more common in women than in men.
 
The outlook for anal cancer is often better than for other types of bowel cancer, especially when caught in the earlier stages.
 
The anus (back passage) is the 4 cm long end portion of the large bowel, which opens to allow solid waste to exit the body.
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About Bowel Cancer What-is-Bowel-Cancer 770newfinalWhat is Bowel Cancer?

When your doctor talks about bowel cancer (also known as colorectal cancer or colon cancer) they are referring to cancer of the colon or rectum.
 
 
Most bowel cancers start as benign, non-threatening growths – called polyps – on the wall or lining of the bowel.

Polyps are usually harmless; however, adenomatous polyps (adenomas) can become cancerous (malignant). If left undetected, an adenoma can develop into a cancerous tumour.

In more advanced cases, the cancerous tumour can spread beyond the bowel to other organs.
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About Bowel Cancer Prevention 770newfinal

Bowel Cancer - Prevention

Diet and lifestyle choices as well as screening and surveillance can influence your bowel cancer risk.
 
These are things you can change and are therefore referred to as modifiable.
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Bowel Cancer Australia Risk Factors

Bowel Cancer Risk Factors

Anything that increases your chance of developing cancer is called a cancer risk factor; anything that decreases your chance of developing cancer is called a cancer protective factor.
 
Some risk factors for cancer can be avoided, but many cannot.  Avoiding risk factors and increasing protective factors may lower your risk, but it does not mean that you will not get cancer.
 
Age, health history and inheriting certain genes can affect the risk of developing bowel cancer.
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Symptoms

Signs & Symptoms

Possible signs of bowel cancer include a change in bowel habit or blood in the bowel movement.
 
Don't delay in talking to your GP is you are experiencing symptoms for two weeks or more, because when diagnosed early 90 percent of cases can be successfully treated.
 
Not everyone experiences symptoms, particularly in the early stages of bowel cancer.
 
Changes can also be due to other medical conditions, some foods or medicines.
  
Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding should never be ignored.
 
 
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About Bowel Cancer

What Else Could It Be?

There are many common conditions that can affect the health of our bottoms and bowels, and many have symptoms similar to bowel cancer.
 
Although you might feel embarrassed to talk about them, it is important to get checked out by your doctor if you notice anything unusual.
 
In most cases, the diagnosis will not be bowel cancer, but if you have symptoms and are worried, make an appointment to talk to your GP.
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Bowel Cancer Australia 1 in 13

Bowel Cancer - The Facts

Australia has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world.
 
Bowel cancer is the third most common type of newly diagnosed cancer in Australia. 
 
14,958 Australians are told they have bowel cancer every year.
 
Bowel cancer is Australia's second biggest cancer killer after lung cancer, claiming the lives of 4,162 people every year.
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  • icon The Digestive SystemColon - Rectum - Anus
  • icon What is Anal Cancer?Causes - Risks - Treatment
  • icon What is Bowel Cancer?Colorectal Cancer
  • icon PreventionDiet - Lifestyle - Screening
  • icon Risk FactorsAge - Family History - Genetics
  • icon Signs & SymptomsBlood in the Toilet
  • icon What Else Could It Be?Crohn's - Colitis - Piles
  • icon Bowel CancerFacts & Information