Change the way you think about Bowel Screening
Bowel cancer is the second-biggest cancer killer in Australia. However, early detection through screening can vastly improve survival rates. If caught in time, 90% of bowel cancer cases can be treated successfully.
Most bowel cancers start as polyps (tiny growths that can develop in the large bowel) and may become cancerous over time. Fortunately, polyps can be detected easily through a bowel screening and if caught early, is usually successfully treated (source: Bowel Cancer Australia).
When should you get checked?
It is recommended to screen for bowel cancer every one to two years for both men and women±‡:
- Over the age of 50
- With no bowel cancer symptoms
- No personal/family history of bowel cancer or polyps.
People experiencing symptoms or who have a personal/family history of bowel cancer or polyps are advised to discuss appropriate screening options with their GP.
Signs and symptoms of bowel cancer
Bowel cancer can develop with few, if any, early warning signs. If symptoms of the disease are present, these may include:
- Blood in or on the stool (faeces) – please note that polyps and cancers may bleed intermittently
- A recent and persistent change in bowel habit
- General stomach discomfort
- Frequent gas or pains
- Unexplained weight loss.
If you have any of these symptoms, please discuss them with your GP.
Bowel Cancer Screening Kits
You can purchase bowel cancer screening kits from many TerryWhite Chemmart pharmacies for $39.95. Once purchased, simply follow these three easy steps:
- Complete the test in the comfort of your own home
- Follow the return instructions and send your kit back for testing in the prepaid envelope provided
- Your results will be posted to you and, if necessary, you will be instructed to talk with your GP
Contact your local TerryWhite Chemmart to enquire about a bowel cancer screening kit.
‡In accordance with medical guidelines. People experiencing symptoms or who have a family history of bowel cancer are advised to immediately discuss appropriate options with their GP.
±Source: Gastroenterological Society of Australia (GESA) – Early Detection, Screening and Surveillance for Bowel Cancer (Reprinted 2011).