Armadale men urged to not leave it until it’s too late to be screened for bowel cancer

Armadale men urged to not leave it until it’s too late to be screened for bowel cancer

CITY of Armadale men die from bowel cancer at a higher rate than those in the City of Gosnells or Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale.

Research by Bowel Cancer Australia showed 8.5 per 100,000 deaths from bowel cancer in Armadale’s male population, less than the national average of 9.2 per 100,000 but greater than in Gosnells (7.6 per 100,000) or Serpentine-Jarrahdale (7.7 per 100,000).

Armadale men between the ages of 50 and 54 had a bowl cancer screening participation rate of 33.5 per cent, about the national average.

The lifetime risk of developing bowel cancer is one in 13, with risk increasing steeply from age 50.

About 91 per cent of bowel cancers occur in people age 50 and over, with men accounting for 55 per cent of diagnosis rates.

Bowel cancer, or colorectal cancer, is cancer of the colon or rectum and usually develops from tiny growths called polyps, although not all polyps become cancerous.

Research for Bowel Cancer Australia’s Don’t Wait Until it’s Too Late program shows more than half (55 per cent) of respondents were unsure or not aware of bowel cancer symptoms and 25 per cent of people experiencing symptoms waited more than three months before seeking help from a GP.

Five-year survival rates for bowel cancer are 68 per cent, lagging behind other common cancers such as breast, melanoma and prostate cancer with survival rates of about 90 per cent.

Bowel Cancer Australia spokesman and colorectal surgeon Graham Newstead said people experiencing differences in their bowel movements should contact their local GP.

“West Australians need to be bowel-aware and if experiencing symptoms such as bleeding in the bowel movement, severe abdominal pain or have a persistent change in bowel habit they need see their GP for further investigation as soon as possible,” he said.

Part of the Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late awareness program, the Bowel Cancer Atlas of Australia provides communities throughout the state with a snapshot of their health.

The Atlas includes updated data on bowel cancer deaths, screening participation and colonoscopies, along with existing data on risk factors such as smoking and high alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, eating red or processed meats, type 2 diabetes and obesity.

“The Atlas data provides an opportunity for communities to focus attention on health behaviours that could be improved to reduce bowel cancer risk,” said A/Prof Newstead.