June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

Published on 19 June 2019

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June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

Bowel cancer is the third most common type of cancer in Australia. Of those diagnosed with bowel cancer, 55% are male and 45% women. Its risk increases sharply from the age of 50. However, if detected early, approximately 90% of cases can be treated successfully.

Some factors that reduce the risk of bowel cancer:

·         Physical activity can reduce the risk of colon cancer by 16%

·         Eating 90g of wholegrains such as brown rice can reduce the risk of bowel cancer by 17%

·         Consuming 400mg of Calcium per day can reduce the risk of bowel cancer by 13%. This can be achieved by drinking one glass of low fat milk and consuming 200g of low fat yoghurt per day

Some factors that increase the risk of bowel cancer include:

·         A high dietary intake of processed meat such as salami, bacon, ham and sausages has been strongly associated with increased risk of bowel cancer. Excessive intake of red meat has also been shown to increase bowel cancer risk. Try to limit red meat intake to 500g of cooked red meat per week and avoid processed meats.

·         Excessive alcohol intake. The National Health and Medical Council recommends individuals limit alcohol to two standard drinks per day with two alcohol-free days a week. A standard drink is 120mL wine, 30mL spirit or 375mL mid-strength beer

·         Smoking 40 cigarettes per day has been shown to increase bowel cancer risk by 40%

Be aware of the symptoms:

·         Blood in the bowel movement which may or may not be visible to the naked eye

·         Unexplained weight loss

·         Altered bowel habits

·         Severe and persistent abdominal pain

Bowel cancer screening is safe and easy and can be done at home. It is recommended for people aged 50 and over should screen every 1 to 2 years. Ask your GP or Pharmacist about screening for bowel cancer.

A highlight of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month is Red Apple Day (Wednesday, 19th June 2019), when Australians are encouraged to support the vital work of Bowel Cancer Australia through the purchase of a Bowel Cancer Awareness Ribbon and apple themed fundraising activities.

 For further information visit Bowel Cancer Australia's Bowel Cancer Awareness Month website. https://www.bowelcanceraustralia.org

For more information on how food can impact our mood as well as to learn more about the gut microbiota visit the Food and Mood Centre https://foodandmoodcentre.com.au/

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