June is not only popular among soon-to-be brides. In fact, it means more to a greater number of people who have been in a battle with bowel cancer for some time now, or have lost loved ones to it.
Also known as colorectal cancer, the disease starts with the growth of a tumour in the large intestine called polyps. In 2019, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare recorded an estimated 16,398 new cases of the second deadliest cancer in Australia, with 5,597 reported deaths connected to it.
Bowel Cancer Awareness Month is an annual event held in the month of June to educate people on how to keep their bowel in check. Although dangerous, bowel cancer can be prevented through early detection from screening. If you discover it during its early stages, you can treat the disease successfully.
Anyone can acquire it, but people over the age of 50 are at higher risk. That is why through its National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, the Australian government urges everyone aged 50 to 74 to undergo a free test which can be done at home. The test is only intended for people who don’t present any symptoms of the disease.
What are the symptoms of bowel cancer?
- Traces of blood in stool
- Rapid weight loss
- Loose bowel movement
- Abdominal pain
- Rectal bleeding or pain
It’s worth noting that these may also be signs of another underlying condition, so it will do you good if you consult your physician whether or not you have performed the test. Several factors may contribute to this form of cancer; some are even beyond one’s control such as genetics. But the more common culprits are smoking, alcohol consumption, a diet that consists of red and processed meat, and a history of inflammatory bowel disease.
According to cancer specialists, a balanced diet which consists of vegetables, fruits and whole grain is a surefire way to prevent the disease. Performing daily exercise is another effective method for preventing it. In addition, they encourage heavy drinkers to reduce their alcohol intake and smokers to quit smoking in order to lower their risk of developing bowel cancer.
Also, it will benefit you loads if you could maintain a healthy weight as obesity was also found to be a cancer trigger. Taking proactive steps in developing a healthy lifestyle is, no doubt, the key to beating bowel cancer and achieving longevity.