Early detection crucial to treating bowel cancer

National Bowel Cancer Screening Program KitNew data by Cancer Council's Victorian Cancer Registry has revealed bowel cancer is Victoria's second biggest cancer killer, taking almost as many lives as breast and prostate cancer combined in 2015.

Yet if detected early, 90% of bowel cancer can be treated successfully - which is why Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper is urging Victorians over the age of 50 to take part in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.

"The test is simple and can be done in the comfort of your own home, but currently only 38% of eligible Victorians take part in the free screening program. Our goal is to increase participation to 50% of the eligible Victorian population by 2021."

Bowel cancer is most common in older Victorians, with only 9% of cases in 2015 diagnosed in those aged less than 50 years. Modifiable bowel cancer risk factors include being overweight, having a diet high in red meat (particularly processed meats such as salami or ham), drinking alcohol and smoking.

"We must continue to work tirelessly on finding new and improved ways to detect, treat and prevent cancer, while continuing to support those affected," said Mr Harper.

"Cancer survival remains high which is great news for all Victorians, but we can continue to improve these statistics thanks to prevention and early detection programs such as bowel screening."

Learn more on bowel cancer screening.


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Updated: 05 Apr, 2017