Bowel cancer refers to cancer in any part of the large bowel (colon or rectum) and is sometimes known as colorectal cancer.
Bowel cancer grows from the inner lining of the bowel and may develop from growths on the bowel wall. If untreated, bowel cancer can grow locally into the deeper layers of the bowel wall. It can spread from there to the lymph nodes and if the cancer advances further, it can spread to other organs, such as the liver or lungs (metastasis).
Bowel cancer is the second most common cancer affecting people in Victoria, with about 3,580 people diagnosed every year. It's most common in people over 50, but it can occur at any age.
About $4.5 million has been given to fund research specifically into bowel cancer.
In addition, more than $14.5 million has been spent on research projects looking into the detection and treatment of all tumour types (including bowel).
Overall, Cancer Council Victoria has funded $46 million worth of extramural research since 2003.