Thousands of people in Australia are dying of embarrassment every year.
Too scared to speak out or tell their doctor what’s going on, thousands of people are enabling bowel cancer to have a higher death rate than it needs to have. Therefore, this June is a prime opportunity for people to stand up, take notice, and get the word out about bowel cancer. It’s not a secret, it’s not embarrassing, and it shouldn’t be a death sentence.
Australia has one of the highest bowel cancer rates in the world, and it’s the second highest cause of cancer. While the survival rate can be as high as 90 percent, it’s the embarrassment that is killing thousands of people every year. In Australia, 80 people every week die because of bowel cancer and that figure is expected to rise.
While bowel cancer can affect many different people, some are more at risk than others. You are more at risk if you have a family history of bowel cancer spanning over two or three generations; a family member who has received a diagnosis at a young age; if there is a genetic bowel cancer syndrome in your family; or you’ve had an inflammatory bowel disease for more than a decade.
If you believe you may be at risk, don’t be afraid to see a health professional for advice. Seeing your GP is especially crucial if you’ve noticed a change in your bowel movements spanning over several weeks – such as constipation, diarrhoea or a difference in how empty your bowel feels, or you notice blood in your stool. While these are signs of many conditions, not specifically bowel cancer, there’s no time to waste.
Those who seek treatment for bowel cancer as soon as they notice a change in their body can have up to a 90 percent chance of survival. Those who wait may not have the same desirable outcome.
Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, held in June every year throughout Australia, is about more than just urging those who may be at risk to seek help. It’s about creating awareness of this treatable cancer, helping people to understand that they shouldn’t be embarrassed, and to promote early diagnosis. The longer you wait, the more advanced cancer can become, and the harder it is to cure.
If you or a loved one have noticed changes in your bowel movements, seek advice from a medical professional. Even if you believe it’s nothing, there’s every reason to rule out a death sentence.
For more information visit Bowel Cancer Australia.