28 May 2013
A new interactive website that outlines the risk of developing bowel cancer based on family history has been launched today, to raise awareness of early detection of the disease, ultimately saving lives.
The website, Know Your Risk (www.knowyourrisk.org.au), is thanks to a collaborative project between Cancer Council SA, The Jodi Lee Foundation, CSIRO Preventative Health Flagship and Flinders University.
The new online tool guides users through a series of steps to build a family tree of close relatives whose history will impact the user’s bowel cancer risk.
Cancer Council SA General Manager of Cancer Control, Dr Marion Eckert, said that understanding whether you have a history of bowel cancer in your family could save your life.
“We know that 90% of bowel cancer cases can be treated successfully if found early, however bowel cancer is still the second leading cause of cancer-related death in Australia,” Dr Eckert said.
“It is important that people make use of this simple and unique website to receive a personalised risk assessment of their bowel cancer risk, to determine if any extra precaution is needed.
“Every day, every one of us can do something to help prevent cancer. Cancer Council SA is encouraging people to get informed of their family’s bowel cancer history because an individual’s risk may be a lot higher than the average person if there is a history of bowel cancer in the family.”
Once the online family tree is complete, the user is asked to add cases of bowel cancer or other relevant cancers to family members, including whether that relative was diagnosed before the age of 55 or after.
After working through the website, the user will be provided with a personalised risk assessment of whether their bowel cancer risk is average or elevated.
Nick Lee, CEO and Founder of bowel cancer awareness charity, The Jodi Lee Foundation, knows first hand the devastating impact of bowel cancer, having lost his wife and mother of his two children Jodi to the disease at age 41.
“Jodi’s death was the catalyst for this partnership and I personally am extremely proud to see it become a reality,” Nick said.
“Knowing my children are now at greater risk of developing bowel cancer means they will be more vigilant about screening and monitoring their health in the future.
“In many cases symptoms of bowel cancer aren’t evident, which is why knowing your risks and screening regularly are so important.
“I urge people to talk openly with family members about their history of bowel cancer and use the Know Your Risk website to assess their risk. It’s important people who are found to have an elevated risk of bowel cancer to discuss it further with their doctor - it could just save your life.”
Additional information about preventing bowel cancer is available on the Know Your Risk website and users also have the option of printing their personalised results to discuss with their doctor if any follow up testing or clinical management is needed.
Graeme Young, Professor of Global GI Health at Flinders University said, “Know Your Risk has been developed based on current knowledge and clinical guidelines for the prevention and early detection of bowel cancer. It should be a useful tool for patients and GPs when discussing bowel cancer and family history – as we know early detection saves lives.”
Anyone who has concerns about their risk of developing bowel cancer should discuss their health with their general practitioner.
Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20 is also available for people to contact for information about cancer.
Know Your Risk can be found at www.knowyourrisk.org.au.