As Bowel Cancer Australia’s annual initiative to raise public awareness, this month (June 1 – 30) is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month! Packed with loads of information and opportunities to get involved, visiting the following websites is a must!
First up, there are two things you need to know about Bowel
1) It is one of the most common cancers
2) Bowel Cancer Prevention saves lives!
Currently people aged 50 -72 receive the standard faecal occult blood test free of charge through the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, but new research by the American Cancer Society, supports and encourages people over 50 years of age to have a colonoscopy for accurate bowel cancer detection and prevention.
Colonoscopy is currently the best method of detecting bowel polyps, and is still the only means to remove them. Bowel polyps are very common, especially in older people, and if left untreated these polyps often develop into bowel cancer. Completely removing these polyps is generally a safe procedure.
While there are a few different ways to screen for bowel polyps and cancer, colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy remain the two main procedures used. There is some debate in the medical community about which is better, but don’t let this deter you – bottom line, whichever method of screening/testing you choose, get it done. Anything is better than nothing!
What is the difference between the two?
Both Colonoscopy and Sigmoidoscopy use a flexible tube with a camera at the end to view the colon. Sigmoidoscopies only examine part of the colon on the left side, while a Colonoscopy examines the entire colon. Recent studies show that some patients who chose Sigmoidoscopy had problem areas that were left undetected due to the limited area examined.
This does not happen with a Colonoscopy. If opting for a Sigmoidoscopy it’s recommended you also ask for a Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) which detects cancer in other areas of the bowel, however speaking with your GP about any concerns should be the first place you start.
This latest research and American Cancer Society Guidelines recommend that screening should begin at the age of 50 for all patients, unless you have prior history or a family history of colon cancer, in which case it should begin earlier. It’s recommended that Colonoscopies are done every 10 years if no abnormalities are found for standard risk patients with no family history.
There are a number of bowel cancer signs and symptoms to be aware of, as well as common risk factors which you can find here. Remember, a risk factor is any factor associated with increasing someone’s chances of developing a condition or illness. You might see a couple of risk factors that relate to you, but this does NOT mean you WILL develop bowel cancer.
We strongly recommend screening and testing if you are a at risk individual. For early detection, and for your own peace of mind contact Direct Endoscopy to discuss the best course of action for you.
Direct Endoscopy provides state of the art facilities, latest techniques and equipment, and boasts a highly experienced team, with our sole purpose being to help you! We work closely with Doctors and encourage those of you who have concerns to speak with your GP and ask for a referral for a Colonoscopy.
- Bowel Cancer: click here
- When to Get a Colonoscopy, Why You Need One, & How It All Works - November 22, 2021
- Why Your Doctor Wants You to Get a Colonoscopy - October 12, 2021
- Why Australia’s Bowel Cancer Screening Age Should Be Lowered to 40 - July 23, 2021