Did you know?
- Bowel cancer was the second most commonly diagnosed cancer among Tasmanians in 2016.
- Between 2013 and 2017, Tasmania experienced the highest age-standardised rate of deaths from bowel cancer in Australia.
- Bowel cancer is also known as colorectal cancer (cancers of the colon and rectum).
Common symptoms of bowel cancer include:
- Blood in your poo once or more
- A change in your normal bowel habit, such as looser poo, pooing more often or constipation for more than 3 weeks
- An unusual pain, lump or swelling
- Tiredness or looking pale
- Unexplained weight loss, weakness, tiredness or breathlessness
- Loss of appetite.
If you have noticed any blood in your poo or evidence of bleeding from your bottom (red or black blood), even if it was just once, it’s important to tell your doctor straight away.
If you have had any of the other symptoms for more than four weeks, tell your doctor. It doesn’t mean you’ve got bowel cancer – often these symptoms turn out to be something less serious. But it’s important to tell your doctor and get checked out to be safe.
If it is bowel cancer, the earlier it’s found, the greater the chance of successful treatment.
Reduce your risk
There are lots of things you can do to reduce your risk of bowel cancer. Visit the bowel cancer page on the Cancer Council Australia website for more information.
Bowel cancer myths and facts
Myth: Age doesn’t matter when it comes to bowel cancer.
Fact: More than 9 out of 10 bowel cancers are diagnosed in people aged 40 and over.
Myth: Bowel cancer only affects men.
Fact: Bowel cancer can affect both men and women.
Myth: I haven’t got any pain, so I haven’t got bowel cancer.
Fact: Not everybody who has bowel cancer experiences pain.
Myth: I’ve had some bleeding but it’s probably just piles.
Fact: Blood in your poo can be a symptom of bowel cancer.
Myth: I’ve been tired for a long time but it is because I work too hard.
Fact: Tiredness can be normal but unusual tiredness can be a symptom of bowel cancer.
Myth: My symptoms are just a normal part of getting older.
Fact: Getting older does cause changes, but anything unusual or long lasting should be reported to your doctor.