Let’s face it – bowel health is one of those things we avoid talking about. But bowel cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer related deaths in Victoria.

The Jodi Lee Foundation is a national charity that raises awareness about bowel health and bowel cancer prevention. And the Foundation is organising an awareness and fundraising event in Daylesford in October.

In 2021, bowel cancer was the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in Victoria. It is more common in males than in females and it typically affects people over the age of 50.

Fortunately, overall rates of morbidity and mortality are decreasing in Victoria. But the rate of bowel cancer has more than doubled in adolescents and young adults. About 1 in 10 new cases are now in people younger than 50 and it is now Australia’s leading cause of cancer related death in people 25 – 34. Poor diet and lack of physical activity are probably important causes for this increase.

About 1 in 3 people who develop this cancer will die from it. But early detection greatly increases the chances of successful treatment.

Health advice for prevention of bowel cancer includes:

You can check your bowel cancer risk on the government sponsored HealthDirect website.

In October, the Jodi Lee Foundation will host a two-day  trekking event in Daylesford to raise awareness and funds for bowel cancer prevention. On Friday October 13, participants will walk 38 km from Blackwood to Daylesford. Saturday October 14, there will be two walks – one from Mollongghip to Daylesford (32 km) and another shorter walk from Barkstead to Daylesford (24 km).

A medium to high level of fitness is required but with three months to prepare, there is time to improve your fitness to the required level. And, as noted above, exercise reduces the risk of bowel cancer and the risk of cancer generally.

The Foundation will partner with local businesses for food donations, councils and community members to support the infrastructure of the event and encourage local residents and broader Victorian’s to participate.

For more information about the event, see the Jodi Lee Foundation events page.