Bowel Cancer – What You Need to Know

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With bowel cancer currently the third most prominent form of cancer affecting Australians, it pays to be aware of what exactly bowel cancer is, how to spot early signs and symptoms, and why early detection is so important.

An estimated 16,682 new cases of bowel cancer (otherwise known as colorectal cancer or colon cancer) will be diagnosed in Australia this year. While popular opinion may have you believe this is a diagnosis reserved exclusively for older males, the reality is anyone can be affected. There are an increasing number of bowel cancer cases emerging in Australia’s younger population and a relatively even split between males (55% of diagnosed cases) and female (45% of diagnosed cases).

Bowel cancer encompasses any cancer of the rectum or colon. Most bowel cancers begin as non-threatening growths, but left untreated they have the potential to develop into cancerous tumours, and in more advanced cases the tumours can spread beyond the bowel – even before diagnosis.

Thankfully, what separates bowel cancer from many other forms is the ability to easily identify early signs and symptoms. A recent and persistent change in bowel habits, blood in the stool, unexplained anemia and abdominal pain or swelling are a few of the key symptoms to keep watch for – if you spot any number of these, it’s time to book in with your GP. Whilst all of these symptoms can also be attributed to other, and less serious conditions, it’s important to seek medical advice if they persist for more than two weeks.

If your GP spots a problem or cause for concern, they’ll be able to refer you for medical imaging for a more complete picture of what’s going on. At Envision Medical Imaging, we accept all referrals and provide the highest quality imaging. Medical imaging gives you the best chance of early diagnosis. For a disease such as bowel cancer where 90% of early diagnosed cases can be treated successfully, having medical imaging is essential.

Like all diseases, bowel cancer can be a scary thought. However, by being aware of the signs and symptoms you’re giving yourself the very best chance of early detection and diagnosis. For all your scan and imaging needs, get in touch with Envision Medical Imaging.