June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, a month dedicated to increasing awareness of Australia’s second deadliest cancer and raise funds for the community-funded charity, Bowel Cancer Australia, committed to prevention, early diagnosis, research, quality treatment and the best care for everyone affected by bowel cancer.

1 in 13 Australians will be diagnosed with bowel cancer in their lifetime. Whilst the risk increases significantly with age, the disease doesn’t discriminate – it affects both men and women, young and old. 15,604 Australians will be diagnosed with the disease this year- including 1413 people under the age of 50.

Bowel cancer claims the lives of 103 Australians every week (5,375 people a year) – but it’s one of the most treatable types of cancer if found early. 90% of bowel cancer cases can be treated successfully if found early, but fewer than 50% of cases are currently detected early.

Bowel Cancer Australia are urging people to know their family medical history, as in around 30% of cases there has been a family history or a hereditary contribution; and advising that if you have any symptoms like blood in the bowel movement, persistent change in bowel habit or severe abdominal pain – whether you have a family history or not- that you see your GP as soon as possible.

Bowel Cancer Australia recommends participating in screening appropriate to your personal level of risk. For people at average risk of bowel cancer, medical guidelines recommend screening using a faecal immunochemical test (FIT) every 2 years from age 50. However, if you have one relative diagnosed with bowel cancer at age 55 years or older, screening should be considered every 2 years from age 45.

Benefits towards Bowel Cancer Screening kits are available (where no Medicare benefit applies) on Top Extras, Mid Extras, Gold Value Combined and Bronze Plus YoungSavers covers. For claiming and eligibility requirements, please contact our Member Services Team by emailing [email protected] or phone 1800 028 817.

To support Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, and for more information, visit Bowel Cancer Australia.