Bowel cancer remains one of the top five causes of premature death among Australians aged 45-74 years according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report released this month. Poor diet , obesity and lack of exercise are increasing the risk of developing bowel cancer, which will affect 1 in 13 Australians. It is estimated that more than 129 000 Australians will be diagnosed with bowel cancer between now and the Year 2020.

Bowel Cancer screening involves testing people who do not have any symptoms of the disease. The cancer can grow on the inside wall of the bowel for several years before spreading. Often small amounts of blood leak from these growths and pass into the bowel movements. A bowel screening test called Faecal Immunochemical Test can detect these small amounts of blood in bowel movements. The test involves placing small samples of toilet water or stool on a special card and mailing them to a pathology laboratory for analysis. The results are sent to your nominated GP and you.  This test has been selected by the Australian Government's National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme. The current screening programme offers the test to those 50,55,60,64,65,70,72,and 74 years and each year further age groups are added until 2019, where it will be offered every two years from the age of 50yrs. For those not yet eligible to receive a tax-payer funded bowel cancer screening test, talk to your GP or pharmacist about how to purchase a BowelScreen Australia test. Bowel Cancer Australia currently recommends people at average risk of bowel cancer screen using this test every 1-2 years from the age of 50.

Bowel Cancer Australia has developed an App 2.0 for Android and Apple phones to provide information about the cancer, prevention, diagnosis and management , resources and tools for education. For those who are being treated and followed up afterwards, there is free messaging within a Peer-to-Peer Support network. The app can be personalised for the person to store screening reminders, treatment diaries, notes on medications and questions for the next medical appointment.

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