Getting to the bottom of a problem can be a dirty business, and if you’re having problems doing your dirty business – it’s time for a check up.
Bowel motions. No one likes talking about it much, but the fact is your poo can tell a good story. If you notice big changes in your bowel habits, see blood in your poo, or notice it’s a lot darker in colour than usual, it’s time to talk to your doctor. These may not be signs of cancer, but don’t leave that to chance. If it’s caught early, bowel cancer can be cured.
If you have a family history of bowel cancer, it pays to talk about your risk with your doctor. They will tell you what signs to look out for and give you health tips to prevent bowel cancer.
More than 3000 New Zealanders are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year and more than 1200 die from it but detecting bowel cancer at an early stage when it can often be successfully treated. There may be no warning signs that bowel cancer is developing.
- Know your poo! If you notice changes that are there for more than two weeks, see your doctor or health professional
- Caught early, bowel cancer can be successfully treated
- Eating more fibre (fruit, vegetables and whole grains), eating less red meat and regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight may help lower the risk of bowel cancer
- Find out your family health history and, if family members have had bowel cancer, talk to your doctor or health professional about what to look out for and how you can limit your risk of getting bowel cancer.