Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

June is Bowel Cancer Awareness month here in Australia. We would like to take the opportunity to share information with you about bowel cancer in the hope that by raising awareness we can continue to reduce the number of people impacted by this type of cancer.

What is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

Bowel Cancer Awareness Month raises awareness for bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer. Bowel Cancer Awareness month is an opportunity to learn more about this type of cancer and to share information including stories of those impacted by bowel cancer. It is also a time to support organisations, such as ACRF, working to equip researchers with the tools they need to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of all types of cancer.

When is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month held?

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

Why do we commemorate Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

In Australia, bowel cancer is estimated to be the second most diagnosed type of cancer for both men and women and the third most common cause of death from cancer. It was estimated that over 15,000 Australians would be diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2020.

What is Bowel Cancer?

Bowel cancer is caused by the mutation of genes that cause cells in the large intestine to reproduce abnormally and form polyps. Most bowel polyps are not cancerous, but some polyps may become cancerous if left to grow into tumours. Bowel cancer is also referred to as colon cancer or rectal cancer, depending on where it is found in the intestine. 

Bowel cancer most commonly develops in the lower part of the descending colon, the sigmoid colon or rectum. More than 95 per cent of colorectal cancers are adenocarcinomas, cancers that start in cells forming the mucus-making glands that lubricate the colon and rectum. Other rare types include squamous cell cancers, Gastrointestinal stromal tumours, carcinoid tumours, sarcomas and lymphomas.

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.

What colour ribbon is for bowel cancer?

The ribbon for bowel cancer (known as colorectal cancer there) is blue. In Australia, a green ribbon with a red apple on it – an abstract representation of the human bowel, is sometimes used.

How you can help spread awareness about Bowel Cancer

Getting involved in Bowel Cancer Awareness Month gives everyone the opportunity to make a difference. You can:

  • Wear a ribbon and encourage conversations about bowel cancer.
  • Talk to family and friends about the realities of bowel cancer, clearing up myths along the way.
  • Get tested regularly and encourage others to get tested too.
  • Post and share information about bowel cancer on social media.
  • Support research into improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of all types of cancer, including bowel cancer.

There are many ways to support the work of ACRF and together, with everyone’s input, we will achieve our goal to outsmart cancer. For more information on how you can support bowel cancer research, learn how you can get involved with ACRF.

ACRF’s commitment to Bowel Cancer research

ACRF has partnered with several research institutes on initiatives to develop better prevention, earlier detection and more effective treatments for bowel cancer. Some of these research initiatives include:

  • ACRF Centre for Integrated Cancer Systems Biology in South Australia. This state-of-the-art facility is utilising next generation technologies to transform patient outcomes through the delivery of targeted and personalised cancer therapy for a number of types of cancer including bowel cancer.
  •  ACRF Breakthrough Technologies Laboratory to advance new treatments for many of Australia’s most common, and most deadly cancers, including bowel cancer.
  • ACRF Centre for Therapeutic Target Discovery, potentially forming a scientific cornerstone of the first comprehensive cancer centre established in Australia. The centre created an innovative Australian-first collaborative and integrated cancer research centre, where clinicians, diagnosing and treating cancer patients, work closely with scientists researching the disease.