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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Can smoking cause Bowel Cancer?

    I have recently seen a doctor re rectal bleeding and a number of other symptoms synonymous with bowel cancer. I am currently awaiting test results and will be going in for a colonoscopy in a number of weeks. Although I am relatively young for this condition (34), there is a history of it in our family. I have looked on line regarding other contributing causes to bowel cancer but have found conflicting answers -- in short - is smoking a noted/significant cause of bowel cancer?
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  • Bowel Cancer Australia is the leading community-funded charity dedicated to prevention, early diagnosis, research, quality treatment and care for everyone affected by bowel cancer. We … View Profile

    Thank you for your question.

    Firstly, great to hear that you are being proactive with your health and have made an appointment to discuss your concerns with your doctor.

    In answer to your question -

    It is estimated that changes to diet and physical activity could reduce the incidence of bowel cancer by up to 75 per cent.

    Cigarette smoking is linked to an increased risk of bowel cancer. You will find further details on diet and lifestyle factors that have been shown to increase bowel cancer risk (including cigarette smoking) at -

    Other helpful information -

    Bowel Cancer Australia has developed bowel cancer information and resources uniquely designed for younger people, helping younger people to better understand their bowel cancer risk and to take appropriate action.  You may find the information available on the following webpage - - to be particularly helpful.

    Please do also check out the "About Bowel Cancer" section on the Bowel Cancer Australia website which includes details about possible 'Signs & Symptoms', 'Risk Factors' (including Family History) and lots of other useful information -

    We hope that helps to answer your question.

    Please feel free to contact us anytime for individualised advice at:

    Bowel Cancer Australia Nurse Adviser -

    Kind Regards,
    The team at Bowel Cancer Australia

    Please Note: The information provided by Bowel Cancer Australia’s Nurse and Nutritionist Advisory Services is intended for Australian residents as a reference guide only. It is not a substitute for independent professional advice and is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or disorder.

    If you believe your symptoms are consistent with those of bowel cancer or a digestive illness, please consult your doctor.

    Bowel Cancer Australia, its directors, officers or medical professionals shall not be liable to any person, company or any other body for any loss, direct or indirect or consequential on whatsoever account for any omission or negligent misstatement.

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