Bowel cancer

Most bowel cancers start as benign, non-cancerous growths called ‘polyps’ that form on the inner lining or the wall of the bowel [24363]. These polyps may become cancerous if they are not removed. Family history is a risk factor for bowel cancer, but a lot of bowel cancers, and the deaths relating to them, are considered preventable [1894]. Participating in bowel screening programs is very important for early detection of bowel cancer [26088] .

The risk of getting bowel cancer can be reduced by:

  • having a diet high in fibre, fresh fruit, and vegetables, and low in fat
  • being physically active
  • maintaining a healthy bodyweight [24363].

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are less likely to be diagnosed with, go to hospital for, or die from bowel cancer than non-Indigenous people [26088]. However, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are less likely to get screened for bowel cancer, which may contribute to their lower 5-year survival rate compared with non-Indigenous Australians.

References

Key resources

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