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What causes bowel cancer?

There are many reasons people develop bowel cancer. It is difficult to give one reason, however, for most people it is their age and their diet that contribute to the development of bowel cancer. The risk is greater for people who have a family history of bowel cancer or polyps, who have had an inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, or who have previously had polyps in the bowel.

The development of bowel cancer generally takes many years. It starts as a tiny growth called a polyp on the inside wall of the bowel. It can grow there for a long time before it undergoes changes to become cancerous and then spreads to other parts of the body.

Last reviewed: August 2016

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What are the risk factors for bowel cancer?

The cause of bowel cancer is still unknown; however research has identified a number of factors that increase the risk of developing bowel cancer.

Read more on WA Health website

Tumour of unknown primary (TUP) | myVMC

Tumours of unknown primary are the cause of 2% of all cancers. It is diagnosed when the organ in which cancer originated cannot be determined.

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Bowel cancer - Cancer Council Australia

What is bowel cancer? Find out about the symptoms, causes, treatment options and more. Get the facts from Cancer Council here.

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Bowel Cancer - Information, Treatment & Support - CanTeen

Bowel cancer, or colorectal cancer, is the second most common cancer in both men and women. Learn more about causes, diagnosis and treatments with CanTeen.

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Bowel cancer screening program - Cancer Council Australia

Regular bowel cancer screening using on FOBT kit can pick up pre-cancerous polyps. Find out more about tests for bowel cancer.

Read more on Cancer Council Australia website

Bowel cancer - myDr.com.au

Bowel cancer - the second most common type of cancer affecting both men and women in Australia - is cancer that starts in the large bowel (colon) or rectum.

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Bowel Cancer (Adenocarcinoma of the Caecum) | myVMC

Adenocarcinoma of the caecum is a type of bowel cancer in the epithelium or lining of the large intestine. Risk increases over 50 years of age.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Bowel cancer - Position statement - Cancer Council Australia

The new bowel cancer screening chapter of our National Cancer Prevention Policy provides comprehensive information on bowel cancer screening in Australia, including statistical data, the evidence base, policy context and priorities.

Read more on Cancer Council Australia website

Bowel cancer screening information | myVMC

Screening increases the early detection of bowel cancer (colorectal cancer). It involves a faecal occult blood test and colonoscopy.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Bowel cancer fact sheet - Cancer Council Australia

It is crucial that bowel cancer is detected early. Read our patient fact sheet on symptoms, screening and how to reduce the risk of cancer.

Read more on Cancer Council Australia website

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