Trust your gut – it could be giving you warning signs of bowel cancer


Did you know an Australian dies from bowel cancer every two hours? And yet, most people would have no idea of the symptoms for early detection.

In any three-month period, 65% of Australians will experience uncomfortable gut symptoms such as bloating, cramping, gas or unexplained tiredness. Most of the time, this discomfort will be ignored or blamed on ‘stress’ or ‘something I ate’. However, sometimes those symptoms may be telling you that something else is going on…

So the Jodi Lee Foundation says it’s time to trust we trusted our gut.

Some key bowel cancer statistics that are important for Australians to be aware of include:

  • Symptoms to be aware of include bloating, cramping, constipation, diarrhoea, blood in your stools, unexplained tiredness and unexplained weight loss
  • Sometimes bowel cancer presents itself with these symptoms, however, if you are under the age of 50, it’s unlikely your bowel symptoms will be caused by bowel cancer
  • But the critical thing with bowel cancer is to catch it early. Acting quickly when you first notice symptoms is key because over 90% of cases can be successfully treated if diagnosed before the cancer spreads
  • Australia has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world
  • Every 2 hours, bowel cancer claims a life. That’s around 80 people every week, or over 4,000 each year

The Jodi Lee Foundation has joined forces with some of Australia’s leading health, nutrition and wellness experts to launch a nationwide campaign, to raise awareness of unusual gut symptoms; what they are, when to act and what you need to do if you’re experiencing them.

Kathryn Quintel, CEO of Jodi Lee Foundation, explains the very personal impetus behind this campaign. “My father died of bowel cancer ten years ago, and my mother has also battled the same disease. Bowel cancer doesn’t always present itself with symptoms until it’s too late. We want all Australians to be aware of what the symptoms are so they act quickly if they are experiencing any of them. Put simply, we want you to ‘trust your gut’ and talk to your GP if you have unusual gut symptoms for longer than a week.”

“Bowel cancer takes one Australian life every two hours, but it doesn’t have to. In fact, 90% of bowel cancer cases can be successfully treated if diagnosed before the cancer spreads, so we know that raising awareness, education and early detection is vitally important.”

For more information and advice for prevention and early detection of bowel cancer, visit

Megan Houston

Balance website, community and content manager. Email

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