"Around 1 in 12 people will get bowel cancer," said Doctor Lee.
Bowel cancer affects men and women equally. Yet, 90% survive if the cancer is caught early.
"We don't know precisely what causes most bowel cancers," said Doctor Lee, "but we do know that diet, lifestyle and family history are major factors."
Not everyone will have symptoms and the symptoms may vary. The most common are:
A persistent change in bowel habits especially going to the toilet more often or stools becoming looser for several weeks.
Bleeding from the bottom without any obvious reason.
Abdominal pain, especially if sever.
A lump in your tummy.
Screening for bowel cancer is recommended at least once every two years for people 50 and over.
When possible, the Australian Government's National Bowel Cancer Screening program issues free testing kits in the year people turn 50, 55, 60 or 65. If you didn't receive your kit, call 1800 118 860 or visit www.cancerscreening.gov.au to find out more.
"The bottom line is," stressed Doctor Lee, "if you bleed after passing a stool or feel you may have some of listed symptoms, see your GP immediately."