In an exclusive interview with Women's Health, the 27-year-old reveals that she carries a gene that increases her risk of developing bowel cancer and at her last check-up the doctor found colon polyps that needed to be removed.
“If you remove the polyp then it can’t develop into cancer,” she explains. “[Getting checked is] the one thing I can proactively do every year that will stop me from getting [bowel cancer]. That is why I’m really passionate about talking about it, because it is a preventable cancer if you do the right things and stay on top of it.”
It's a commonly held misconception that bowel cancer is 'an old person's disease', but it's the highest cancer killer of young Australians aged 24 to 29, with incidence rates increasing.
Bowel Cancer Australia says that in its early stages, bowel cancer often has no obvious symptoms and when it does, they're sometimes dismissed as food intolerances, haemorrhoids or the result of a busy lifestyle. If you notice any of the following symptoms, speak to your doctor.
Bowel cancer symptoms:
- change in bowel habit with diarrhoea, constipation or the feeling of incomplete emptying
- thin bowel movements
- blood in the stools
- abdominal pain, bloating or cramping
- anal or rectal pain
- a lump in the anus or rectum
- weight loss
- unexplained anaemia.