Colorectal or Bowel Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in Australia with 1 in 12 individuals being diagnosed with the disease by the age of 85.
Bowel Cancer is highly preventable through screening and early detection of pre-cancerous polyps. National guidelines recommend screening with Faecal Occult Blood Testing (FOBT) every two years from the age of 50. FOBT detects microscopic traces of blood in the faeces that could have resulted from the presence of a polyp or bowel cancer. A positive FOBT result generates referral by your GP to a Specialist for a Colonoscopy.
Colonoscopy is a low risk day surgery procedure that is the best test for diagnosing and treating pre-cancerous polyps. By 2020 the National Bowel Cancer Screening (NBCSR) will provide free FOBTs to all Australians between 50 and 75 years of age bi-annually but this is currently not in place.
Colonoscopy may also be indicated for further investigation of any individuals with:
- Sudden change in bowel habit (constipation or diarrhoea)
- New ongoing abdominal pain
- Unexplained or unintentional weight loss
- Overt Bleeding at the time of bowel motion
- Unexplained anaemia
- A family history of Bowel Cancer
I would encourage any Pro Health Care patient over the age of 50 to contact their GP to arrange Bowel Cancer Screening if they have not undergone a FOBT in the last two years.
Eligible patients can arrange efficient Easy Access Colonoscopy, Gap Covered to your private health insurer through Adelaide Colorectal and General Surgery. This service is available at Western Community, Calvary North Adelaide, Calvary Wakefield and Burnside Hospitals.
Dr Anthony Ciccocioppo, General and Colorectal Surgeon