The month of June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month in Australia.


Bowel cancer is the second most common cancer in Australia, with an estimated 15,000 people diagnosed each year. 1 in 21 men and 1 in 30 women will develop bowel cancer before they turn 75. Whilst it’s more common in people over 50, you could be any age.

Bowel cancer can be in any part of the large bowel – in your colon or in your rectum – and is sometimes referred to as colorectal, colon or rectal cancer. You can also get cancer of the small bowel but this is usually quite rare and referred to small bowel or small intestine cancer.




During the earlier stages, people with bowel cancer may not experience any symptoms, whilst others will. Some of the symptoms that could be experienced, include:

  • Blood in faeces or present on toilet paper after wiping
  • Bowel habits change, you may experience the need to go more frequently, diarrhoea or constipation
  • The faeces themselves may change in shape, consistency or colour
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Pain or lumps in the anus or rectum
  • Abdominal pain or swelling
  • Anaemia (low red blood cells)
  • Feeling full or bloated, in your stomach or a strange sensation in your nether regions.


Where can I find more information?


Cancer Council’s information on Bowel Cancer is quite extensive, covering the following areas:


You can also search here on the Online Community, there are many stories and experiences that have been shared by members over the years that may well resonate with you. Alternatively, start a new topic and share your own story or ask questions!


We also have some publications that may assist, available in PDF and Epub formats. EPub are great for loading up on your kindle or other ereading device.

If you would like a printed hard copy of the above or any of our other publications, please call 13 11 20.


You may also like to read this Cancer Council blog post about Bowel Cancer:

And to find out about the National Bowel Cancer screening program, head here.


Where can I find support?


You can find a lot of support right here in the Online Community!


Have a look around, maybe use our search up the top to find what you’re looking for, browse through the different forum sections and blogs, start a new topic to share your experiences so far or to ask any burning questions you might have. This is a safe place for you.


If you're newly diagnosed, talking to someone who has been through a similar cancer experience can be incredibly helpful. If you think that speaking to someone one-to-one would be of interest, take a look at our Cancer Connect program. This vital service is provided by our Cancer Connect peer support volunteers. Our Connect volunteers have all recovered from their own cancer experiences and have been specially trained by Cancer Council to provide peer support via the telephone. They are also supported by a team of health professionals, employed by Cancer Council.


Our Telephone Support Groups are a great way to get support by talking over the phone with people in a similar situation. Whilst we do not currently run one specifically for bowel cancer, we do have one for people with Advanced Cancer and also one for Carers that may be of interest.


Our Webinars are a fantastic source of support and information, covering a large range of topics. A webinar is an online seminar, which you can watch on your computer or mobile device. There are new ones coming up all the time and you can view all the recordings of past webinars.


13 11 20


Please remember that you may contact us on 13 11 20 to ask questions or find out more about anything mentioned here.


The 13 11 20 support and information service is open Monday to Friday during business hours and is staffed by a knowledgeable team of health professionals.

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