Bowel cancer is the third most common type of cancer in Australia, with more than 15,000 new cases confirmed each year. HFG shares the stats you need to know.
The age after which your risk of developing bowel cancer increases significantly. Other risk factors include a family history of the disease, a previous occurrence of bowel cancer, a history of polyps, an inflammatory bowel condition such as Crohn’s disease, increased insulin levels or type 2 diabetes. Test often after 50!
That’s how much you could cut your risk of bowel cancer — by eating three serves of whole grains each day. Simple swaps like eating brown grainy bread instead of white bread, wholemeal pasta instead of white pasta, and rolled oats instead of refined breakfast cereals, make all the difference.
The maximum number of standard drinks consumed each day that is considered ‘low risk’ for the general population, along with at least two alcohol-free days per week. Studies have linked even light drinking to an increased risk of bowel cancer — so put simply, the more you drink, the greater your risk.
The amount of fibre you should aim for each day as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Fibre not only adds bulk to stools and guards against constipation, it promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the bowel. Include plenty of whole grains, legumes, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds for your daily fibre fix.
1 in 13
The number of Australians who will be diagnosed with bowel cancer in their lifetime. Unfortunately, most people who are diagnosed with bowel cancer have few, if any symptoms. The good news is that if found early, more than nine out of 10 bowel cancer cases can be successfully treated. Get in early!
That’s how much you could reduce your risk of dying from bowel cancer by regular screening. If found early, the vast majority of bowel cancer cases can be treated successfully, although less than half are found in the early stages.
It’s recommended that if you do not have a high risk of bowel cancer, you should have a Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) every two years after the age of 50. This is a simple test that detects blood in your stool. Only one in 29 people who have a positive result will also have bowel cancer.
The maximum number of occasions each week you should eat red meat such as beef, lamb or pork. Blackened meat is also of concern — so before you fire up the barbecue, marinate your meat to minimise charring. You should minimise or completely avoid consumption of processed meats like bacon, salami or ham, as there is strong scientific evidence to show that these foods are directly linked to bowel cancer.
The amount of time you should spend each week doing moderate physical activity.
Anything from pilates to Zumba to tai chi counts, so find something you enjoy that raises your heart rate — and stick to it! Not only will you improve your fitness and boost your metabolism, you’ll cut your risk of bowel cancer.
Bowel cancer: The facts
103 Australians die each week from bowel cancer
98 per cent of bowel cancer cases can be successfully treated if detected early
Most cases of bowel cancer occur in people over the age of 50, but the cancer can affect anyone
Being overweight, a heavy drinker or a smoker raises bowel cancer risk
Eating a healthy diet, being physically active and having a healthy body weight cuts bowel cancer risk