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Lauren’s message this bowel cancer awareness month

Published:  27 June 2024

Townsville woman Lauren Gribble wants more people her age to become familiar with the symptoms of Bowel Cancer. 

She's talking about the topic during Bowel Cancer Awareness month this June. 

Something didn’t feel right for 30-year-old Lauren when she started to notice changes to her overall health. She sought help and was eventually given the shock diagnosis of stage two bowel cancer.

Now cancer free following successful treatment at the Townsville University Hospital and Icon Cancer Centre, she is hoping her story can help raise awareness of the disease, particularly in young people.

Australia has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world, with one in 15 Australians set to be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime.

And the rate among young people has been increasing steadily.

“The signs of bowel cancer can easily be confused with other issues and it’s important people listen to their bodies, and advocate for themselves if something feels off,” Lauren said.

Lauren has been documenting her experience on TikTok since she was initially diagnosed.

“Through talking with my friends and family and sharing my journey on TikTok, I am hoping I can raise awareness about what to look out for and where to go for help,” she said. 

“Being a young person with cancer can be extremely isolating.”

“Posting videos of this part of my life online has led me to meet some incredible people and be a part of groups like Cancer Chicks who work to support, empower and enhance the lives of all young women affected by cancer and severe chronic and terminal illness.”

Lauren’s oncologist Dr Nathan Bain wants to encourage individuals, especially young people, to take the time to become familiar with the risks and symptoms associated with bowel cancer. 

“Modifiable lifestyle factors such as smoking, excessive consumption of red meat and processed meats, drinking alcohol, and obesity can all increase the risk of bowel cancer,” Dr Bain said.

“Non-modifiable factors such as age, family history, hereditary conditions and personal health history can also influence bowel cancer risk.

“Blood in your stool or rectal bleeding, persistent change in bowel habits, change in the shape of your stool, abdominal pain, pain or lumps in the anus or rectum and unexplained anaemia causing tiredness, weakness or weight loss can all be systems of bowel cancer.”

Dr Bain said that more than 90 per cent of bowel cancer cases can be treated successfully when detected early.

To learn more about bowel cancer talk to your GP or visit the Bowel Cancer Australia website.

Bowel Cancer Awareness Month runs through June.

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