Bowel cancer diagnosis
If you have symptoms of bowel cancer or a screening test shows traces of blood in your stools, your GP will examine you and refer you to a specialist for tests.
If the tests show that you have bowel cancer, the specialist will work out how far it has spread. This is known as staging. Some bowel cancers are diagnosed when they have already spread beyond the bowel (advanced bowel cancer). This may be because the primary cancer never caused obvious symptoms.
After a bowel cancer diagnosis, you are likely to see a range of health professionals, who will all play a part in your treatment.
Many people feel understandably shocked and upset when told they have bowel cancer. If you need support, call Cancer Council 13 11 20.
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Video: Cancer and common diagnostic tests
A/Prof David A Clark, Colorectal Surgeon, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, and The University of Queensland, QLD, and The University of Sydney, NSW; A/Prof Siddhartha Baxi, Radiation Oncologist and Medical Director, GenesisCare Gold Coast, QLD; Dr Hooi Ee, Specialist Gastroenterologist and Head, Department of Gastroenterology, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, WA; Annie Harvey, Consumer; A/Prof Louise Nott, Medical Oncologist, Icon Cancer Centre, Hobart, TAS; Caley Schnaid, Accredited Practising Dietitian, GenesisCare, St Leonards and Frenchs Forest, NSW; Chris Sibthorpe, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland; Dr Alina Stoita, Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist, St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, NSW; Catherine Trevaskis, Gastrointestinal Cancer Specialist Nurse, Canberra Hospital, ACT; Richard Vallance, Consumer.
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Dealing with the diagnosis
Common reactions to a cancer diagnosis and how to find hope
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What you can reasonably expect from your health care providers
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