What is Bowel cancer?

Bowel cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the wall of the large bowel grow in an uncontrolled way.

The bowel is part of the body's digestive system. The small bowel refers to the small intestine. The large bowel includes the colon (large intestine), rectum and anal canal. Read More

Bowel cancer is also known as colorectal cancer, colon cancer or rectal cancer. It can cause narrowing or blockage of the bowel, or bleeding. In advanced disease, the cancer can spread to other parts of the body to form secondary cancers (known as metastasis).

Bowel cancer is one of the 10 most common cancers in both men and women in Australia. Hide

  • Bowel cancer statistics

    Bowel cancer statistics

    Bowel cancer was the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia in 2011. It is estimated that it will remain the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in 2015.

  • Know the risk factors

    Know the risk factors

    Some risk factors are modifiable, such as lifestyle or environmental risk factors, and others cannot be modified, such as inherited factors or whether someone in the family has had cancer.

  • Bowel cancer symptoms

    Bowel cancer symptoms

    Bowel cancer is usually a slow-growing cancer. There are often no symptoms in the early stages of the disease.

  • Bowel cancer screening

    Bowel cancer screening is recommended for people aged over 50 years.  Get a free test you can do at home.

  • How is bowel cancer diagnosed?

    How is bowel cancer diagnosed?

    Bowel cancer may be diagnosed after you visit your doctor with symptoms, or if a screening test shows signs that you might have bowel cancer.

  • Treatment options

    Treatment options

    Treatment and care of people with cancer is usually provided by a team of health professionals, both medical and allied health, called a multidisciplinary team.

  • Finding support

    Finding support

    You might feel overwhelmed, scared, anxious or upset if you have been diagnosed with cancer – these are all normal feelings.

  • Research & clinical trials

    Research & clinical trials

    Research is ongoing to find new ways to diagnose and treat different types of cancer.

  • Health professionals

    Health professionals

    Information and Clinical Guidelines for Health professionals.

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