Despite being the third most diagnosed cancer, bowel cancer patients don’t receive the same level of support as other common cancers.
Described as a 'lifeline' by patients and their loved ones, Bowel Cancer Australia’s telenursing and telenutrition services are addressing this gap, enabling equity of access to personalised care and tailored support nationwide.
Since 2010, Bowel Cancer Australia’s Bowel Care Nurses and Nutritionists have been offering support for patients and loved ones through the charity’s Helpline and Peer-to-Peer Support Network.
Thanks to the continued support of the Dry July Foundation, Bowel Cancer Australia has been able to further expand our Bowel Care Nurse and Nutritionist Programs. Increasing the capacity of our Patient Services team, to meet the growing demand for these vital services.
Serving as a constant, dedicated point of contact for the many bowel cancer patients who utilise the charity’s telenursing service nationwide, Bowel Cancer Australia’s Bowel Care Nurses offer support during and after treatment. As well as assisting patients, family, friends, and concerned members of the community by answering questions about bowel symptoms, treatment options, or how to support a loved one affected by the disease.
“Bowel cancer patients are often faced with unique challenges and their journey can vary greatly from other cancers. Leading many to believe they have ‘the wrong cancer’,” says Bowel Care Nurse Tammy.
People affected by bowel cancer face multiple nutritional challenges, including being unsure about what to eat, diarrhoea, appetite loss, and changes to taste and smell.
Yet they receive little or no nutritional information following diagnosis and treatment.
Bowel Cancer Australia’s uniquely qualified Bowel Care Nutritionists, help to address that need by providing guidance that’s practical, sustainable and evidence based.
“A diagnosis of bowel cancer will involve a change to diet and lifestyle and your new bowel habit might be hard to come to terms with,” says Bowel Care Nutritionist Janet.
"Families, friends and carers also require support and practical advice to assist in meal preparation when caring for a bowel cancer patient," Janet adds.
So as to provide further cancer-focused support to the growing number of Australians affected by bowel cancer, Bowel Cancer Australia is currently recruiting for Australia’s first dedicated Bowel Care Oncology Social Worker.
This unique new role will help to reduce anxiety and distress, and increase feelings of hope and empowerment, by assisting bowel cancer patients in learning new ways of coping, providing practical information about available resources in their community, and improving communication with their medical team and loved ones.
Bowel Cancer Australia’s integrated Bowel Care Nursing program continues to expand, supporting the employment of dedicated part-time Bowel Care Nurses in regional communities across the country. Acting as a key point of contact for bowel cancer patients and their families as they navigate the health system in their local area – providing advice, education, support and direct patient care.
“Bowel cancer is Australia’s second deadliest cancer, but when detected early 99 per cent of cases can be successfully treated. We need to be at the forefront of that treatment, helping ensure clients get the best possible care,” says Sunshine Coast Bowel Care Nurse Kirsty.
Thanks to the Dry July Foundation’s support Bowel Cancer Australia can put more bowel cancer patients and loved ones in touch with a Bowel Care Nurse or Nutritionist, where they can receive specialist support from Tammy, Janet, Kirsty or one of the team.
No one need go through bowel cancer alone.