Let’s talk about your bowel… and cancer prevention

24 Jun 2020

Not many people are comfortable talking about faeces, rectums and blood spotting. Perhaps that’s why nearly 300 Australians are told they have bowel cancer every week – that’s 11% of all new cancer cases in 2019. Fortunately 99% of bowel cancer cases can be treated successfully if detected early. Unfortunately fewer than 50% are detected early.

Here’s what we know:

  1. Most people with bowel cancer are over 50, and the risk increases with age. 
  2. The causes are unknown, but diet, age and genetic factors play important roles. One of Can Too’s research partners, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, have discovered a biomarker that may aid future treatment. 
  3. Common symptoms are blood or mucus in your stool, abdominal discomfort, fatigue and weight loss.


  • Free screening is available to Australians aged 50-74 every two years. This could save your life, yet only 38% of eligible people participate. Take the test or speak to your GP.
  • You can reduce your risk of developing bowel cancer by being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight. Training with friends is a great way to improve your fitness and social circle.
  • Your diet is also important so make small goals and get into a routine to see long term improvement. You can reduce your risk of bowel cancer by cutting out processed meat, cutting down on red meat, drinking less alcohol, not smoking, and eating wholegrains, dietary fibre and dairy foods.

Read more about Can Too’s investment in bowel cancer research.