At Cabrini, we treat more patients with bowel cancer than any other private or public hospital in Victoria. For decades we have been leaders in world-class research, enabling our experts to bring the latest breakthroughs in treatment, technology and innovation to our patients. Our rapid referral process fast-tracks your journey to optimise your chance of survival.
Phone: (03) 9508 1222
Additional Contact No: 03 9508 5888
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Cabrini is renowned for providing exceptional treatment for patients with bowel cancer and pioneering research in the bid to find a cure. We know that the earlier bowel cancer is detected, the better the chance of survival. That’s why prompt diagnosis - and commencement of treatment - is a key priority for us. Cabrini's experienced specialists aim to triage new patients within hours of diagnosis, depending on the urgency of the referral. Following an initial assessment, patients are provided ‘rapid referral’ to sub-specialists - experts in surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy - allowing optimal treatment to begin as soon as possible.
Our experience also tells us that a multidisciplinary approach is the most effective way of treating cancer. For this reason, Cabrini specialists meet fortnightly with our diagnostic experts, medical and radiation oncologists, physiotherapists, exercise physiologists, dietitians, psychologists and researchers, to develop individual treatment plans for each patient. All treatments and support services are conveniently provided in one location, which helps to streamline patient care and reduce stress at a challenging time.
"No one really expects to get bowel cancer. Yet it is surprisingly common as I found out. When it happened, it was quite a shock to me and my family. Being 50, fit and healthy I did not think it was possible. I can only say the challenge of dealing with bowel cancer was made easier by the professionalism and care of the surgeons, medical teams, nurses and staff at Cabrini. They were amazing. It is only when you face these challenges you realise how good some people and organisations are. Thank you to everyone at Cabrini." - James, Age 51
Bowel cancer is a leading cause of cancer death in Australia and has one of the highest - and increasing - incidence rates in the world. At Cabrini we are dedicated to highly innovative research, medical advancements and greater public awareness to help patients, families and clinicians prevent, treat and cure bowel cancer. For more than two decades we have been among Australia’s leading researchers into colorectal disease, including both colorectal cancer and benign disease, and our team has spearheaded a number of national research initiatives. Our commitment to translational research - taking breakthroughs from the laboratory bench to the hospital bedside - means Cabrini patients have access to the most innovative treatments and therapies available.
Since 2010 our department has been involved in a number of clinical research projects using the Cabrini Monash University database. Together these resources help us determine which patients are at the highest risk of developing complications or relapsing, and therefore how we can best modify treatments to improve outcomes.
We are committed to quality care and patient safety. Together with Cabrini’s clinical governance structure, we have introduced a quality assurance loop to ensure the treatment results for bowel cancer at Cabrini are among the highest in the world. To ensure each patient receives the highest standard of care, the outcomes of each of our individual surgeons are carefully scrutinised and reported.
Cabrini’s medical oncologists are senior members of the Australian Gastro-Intestinal Trials Group and design, implement and publish innovative research in advanced bowel cancer that continually improves clinical practice. Our doctors head up international research projects, and are highly regarded as national leaders in advanced bowel cancer research. These skilled specialists have published more than 100 papers over the past decade and have developed many new ideas to be tested in our clinical research program.
Our team of healthcare professionals work in partnership with Cabrini’s extensive range of services to deliver the highest standard of care. Our services include:
Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeons
Cabrini Stomal Therapist
|Cabrini Resources||External Resources|
|Let’s Beat Bowel Cancer website||Cancer Council – Bowel Cancer|
|Cabrini Clinical Trials information page||National Bowel Cancer Screening Program|
|GenesisCare Radiation Oncology||Australian Gastrointestinal Trials Group|
|Cabrini Monash University Department of Surgery||WeCan – Cancer Supportive Care|
|Cabrini Family Cancer Clinic||Cancer Council|
|Look Good Feel Better|
|Clinical Genomics FOBT Kits|
Bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is the most commonly diagnosed internal cancer in Australia in both men and women.
It can start in any part of the large bowel (colon or rectum), and may also be referred to as colon cancer or rectal cancer, depending on where it is located. Most bowel cancers start as benign, non-threatening growths – called polyps – on the wall or lining of the bowel. Polyps are usually harmless, but some types, including adenomatous polyps, can become cancerous if left undetected. In advanced cases, the cancerous tumour can spread beyond the bowel to other organs.
For further information about bowel cancer, please refer to our ‘Let’s Beat Bowel Cancer‘ website FAQs page
Bowel cancer is one of the most preventable and treatable cancers. More than 90 per cent of people survive bowel cancer if it’s detected and treated at an early stage. Reducing known lifestyle risk factors and regular bowel screening are vital tools in preventing the disease.
The screening test for bowel cancer is called a Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT), and is used for people who have no obvious symptoms.
Bowel cancer can develop without any early warning signs, growing inside the bowel’s wall for several years before spreading to other parts of the body. Often very small amounts of blood, invisible to the naked eye, leak from these growths and pass into bowel movements before any symptoms present.
FIT screening can detect microscopic amounts of blood in the stool from pre-cancerous polyps or from early stage bowel cancer. It is one of the most effective ways of reducing the risk of death from the disease. When identified early, 98 per cent of bowel cancer cases can be successfully treated.
Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise when you are undergoing cancer treatment is proven to have profound benefits. Research shows that if you are active and eat well while you have medical treatment, it may improve your quality of life, reduce your risk of cancer recurrence, increase your chance of survival and extend your life.
However, it can be difficult to know what to eat and how much to exercise. That’s why Cabrini offers cancer patients advice on nutrition and exercise that is backed by science and tailored to individual circumstances. Our dietitians offer nutritional support during cancer treatment to help you with weight management and advise you on the correct meal choices.
We also have a team of exercise physiologists to support you with your exercise needs. The cancer experience can take a heavy physical and mental toll on patients, and exercise is a safe and effective way to counteract some of the side effects. The latest evidence suggests regular exercise before, during and/or following cancer treatment decreases the severity of adverse effects. It has also been linked to reduced risk of developing new cancers and conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.
Please ask your specialist for more information, or visit our Allied Health Centre page or call the centre on (03) 9508 1700 to book an appointment. The Cancer Oncology Society of Australia’s Position Statement on Exercise in Cancer Care is also a great source of information.
One of the benefits of being cared for at Cabrini is our dedication to world-class research. Cabrini’s Oncology Clinical Trials Program gives eligible cancer patients access to pioneering treatments, including immunotherapy and targeted therapies, for a range of cancers. The program was established in 2003 and provides state-of-the-art care for cancer patients and continued advancements in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. We achieve this through a combination of research, education and clinical practice.
Your specialist will discuss any clinical trials offered at Cabrini, and other hospitals, that you may be eligible for. They may also connect you to relevant special access programs, which give patients access to new drugs before they are subsidised by the government.
It depends on your private health insurance policy and the type of medical tests and treatment you require. Every patient is different, so we recommend speaking to your doctors and health insurance provider. Generally, hospital cover policies pay the cost of in-hospital treatment charged by your specialist, and other costs such as accommodation and theatre fees. You may need to pay a gap, which is the difference between the total fee charged by your doctor and any Medicare rebate and health fund benefit.
Your specialist can tell you the cost of their consultations. Often the first and second visits will cost more, and a small out of pocket cost will apply for subsequent outpatient visits. If you see the specialist in hospital, or on days when you are admitted for treatment, there will usually be no out of pocket or ‘gap’ fee for the consultation.
Please note: this is a guide only. For further details please contact your private health provider.
Victoria offers four complimentary programs for people experiencing financial hardship as the result of their cancer diagnosis: the Legal Referral Service, the Financial Planning Referral Service, the Workplace Advisory Service and the Small Business Advice Service. Industry professionals volunteer to deliver these programs to patients experiencing financial difficulties. Cancer Council Victoria offers advice in its Cancer and Your Finances Guide. It also helps refer patients to services that may be useful.
At Cabrini we are also able to connect you to a social worker, who can give you information about accessing superannuation and other financial advice. We understand cancer patients can experience financial hardship as a result of their diagnosis and treatment, so we offer patients receiving certain treatments in the day unit a subsidy to a number of services such as emergency admissions, pathology and radiology. Ask your doctor or nurse about the Cabrini Chemotherapy Card eligibility, and how it can be used to offset some of the costs of care.
If you have been diagnosed with a bowel cancer your GP will refer you to a specialist at Cabrini hospital. Your GP can help select the most suitable specialist to treat you. Alternatively, you can visit the Find a Doctor directory for a list of our specialists.
At Cabrini, we ensure all patients with bowel cancer receive prompt treatment. We aim to assign new patients to a specialist within hours of an urgent referral and within a week for non-urgent referrals.
We have all the support services required for your care in one location, including all medical imaging and pathology services. This ensures coordinated care and reduces stress during what can be a challenging time.
At Cabrini, we ensure all patients with a bowel cancer receive prompt treatment. We aim to triage new patients within hours of an urgent referral and within a week for non-urgent referrals.
Our specialists are available to give you advice on your patient and discuss diagnostic and treatment plans. If your patient is unwell our specialists can directly admit them for inpatient treatment. For a list of our specialists visit the Find a Doctor directory.
Alternatively, if the matter is urgent, the Cabrini Malvern Emergency Department (ED) is open 24 hours, 7 days a week. The ED team can provide a referral to the most appropriate specialist to meet your patients’ need.