BowelCare General Information

Cancer of the Bowel

Australia has the world's highest incidence of bowel cancer – 1 in 12, both men and women, will be diagnosed with bowel cancer by the age 85. Age is an important factor. The risk begins at age 40, doubling every 5 years and more rapidly as the person gets older.

Statistics show 90% of bowel cancers can be successfully cured if detected at an early stage. Early detection leads to an improved prognosis and less severe treatment.

BOWEL CANCERS begin as polyps. Polyps are growths occurring in the lining of the bowel. Not all polyps are cancerous; they may or may not bleed and cause diarrhoea and pain. Because polyps can develop into cancer, early diagnosis and removal of all polyps is important. More than 75% of people who develop bowel cancer do not have a family history of the disease.

Annual Testing: It is recommended that ALL men and women over the age of 40 have a BowelCare test EVERY YEAR.

High Risk

The risk of bowel cancer increases 3 to 4 times the average if:

  • - One or more of your blood relatives (parent, sibling or child) have had bowel cancer or polyps.
  • - You’ve previously had bowel cancer or polyps.
  • - You’ve had extensive inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis).
  • - You have a history of bleeding with or in the stool.
  • - You have experienced a recent change in bowel habit or pain in the lower abdomen.

Persons in any of the above categories should consult their doctor for follow up investigation.

Note: Many bowel cancers also occur in people without high risk factors.

Rotary and its members are not engaged in the provision of medical advice or medical service to the public but we do encourage people with a bowel disorder to consult their doctor.

Be kind to yourself – look after your health.