Detection is the key to survival

BENDIGO Health's oncology department director Dr Rob Blum said it was important to catch bowel cancer early.

"If you get bowel cancer earlier you have a 90 per cent chance of eradicating the disease successfully," he said.

"So the earlier you get it the better and, as well as detecting malignancies, you might detect malignant polyps which are again a precursor to malignancies.

"So bowel cancer screening, using the test kits, is something people should seriously consider."

Dr Blum said the test kits, available from pharmacies, were inexpensive.

"It's something that should probably be done one to two times yearly after the age of 50," he said.

"With many malignancies, as you increase in age, your risk of malignancy in general increases.

"They've obviously had to pick an age where it's increasingly more likely to occur.

"If you have a change in your bowel habits, if you have bleeding or notice anything unusual then get assessed by your GP."

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