Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

What causes bowel cancer?

1 min read

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

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 184 results

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.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

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

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.

Read more on Cancer Council Australia website

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.

Read more on CanTeen website

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 -

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.

Read more on myDr website

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

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo