Many illnesses we attend to at our Melbourne Moonee Valley Specialist Centre are serious and debilitating for our patients. However, bowel cancer remains the most significant and life-threatening disease we treat. That’s why it’s important to explain the risks of developing lethal bowel cancer and what can be done to prevent it.
We aspire to reduce the number of untreatable bowel cancer cases we see. If we can detect more early-stage disease, then there’s a much greater chance for you to make a full recovery.
Bowel cancer is, in fact, curable in 9 out of 10 people when detected early enough. Did you know a simple, screening kit is available for you, your family and your friends? Let’s catch bowel cancer before it’s too late. Ask us how.
What is bowel cancer screening? (FOBT or colonoscopy)
FOBT (faecal occult blood test)Bowel cancer screening is a straightforward, painless procedure carried out in the privacy of your own home. Over a few days, you simply collect two tiny stool (faeces) samples using a special collection kit. You can buy this test kit over the counter from your local pharmacist. Your samples are then posted to the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program laboratory for analysis. Alternatively, colonoscopy can be used as a bowel screening tool.
Why do I need bowel cancer screening?
One in 12 Australians will develop bowel cancer by the age of 85. Therefore, the life-saving success of screening for bowel cancer is significant.
FOBT screening is recommended every one to two years for people aged 50 or over. If your test is negative, it’s important that your re-test every one to two years to keep checking your status. If your test is positive, your doctor will schedule a colonoscopy to rule out the presence of bowel cancer or other causes of blood in your stool. If you choose to be screened by colonoscopy then it is recommended every five years from the age of 50.
The good news is that, if caught in time, 90% of bowel cancer cases can be treated successfully. Plus, changes to your diet and physical activity can reduce the incidence of bowel cancer by up to 75%.