Managing bowel and dietary changes
Treatment for bowel cancer can affect how your bowel and digestion work. These changes can be difficult to adjust to. They usually improve over time, but issues may be ongoing and require specialised help.
If you experience problems, talk to your GP, specialist doctor, specialist nurse or dietitian. To find an accredited practising dietitian, visit Dietitians Australia and use their “find a dietitian” search tool.
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Surgery for rectal cancer can lead to symptoms such as faecal incontinence, constipation or frequent bowel movements. This is known as low anterior resection syndrome (LARS), and it can last for months or years. If you have ongoing bowel effects after rectal surgery, talk to your surgeon. Ways to improve bowel function may include changing what you eat, taking medicines and having physiotherapy.
Podcast: Appetite Loss and Nausea
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A/Prof David A Clark, Senior Colorectal Surgeon, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, QLD, The University of Queensland and The University of Sydney; Yvette Adams, Consumer; Dr Cameron Bell, Gastroenterologist, Royal North Shore Hospital, NSW; Katie Benton, Advanced Dietitian Cancer Care, Sunshine Coast University Hospital and Queensland Health, QLD; John Clements, Consumer; Dr Fiona Day, Medical Oncologist, Calvary Mater Newcastle, NSW; Alana Fitzgibbon, Clinical Nurse Consultant, GastroIntestinal Cancers, Cancer Services, Royal Hobart Hospital, TAS; Prof Alexander Heriot, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon, Director Cancer Surgery, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, and Director, Lower GI Tumour Stream, Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, VIC; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Dr Kirsten van Gysen, Radiation Oncologist, Nepean Cancer Care Centre, NSW.
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