Bowel Cancer

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.

General Inquiries

Phone: (03) 9508 1222

Additional Contact No: 03 9508 5888

Operating Hours

Consulting rooms
Monday - Friday, 9 am - 5 pm
Out of hours consultations as required

Emergency Department
Cabrini Malvern
24 hours, 7 days a week

Inpatient wards
24 hours, 7 days a week



For Patients | For GPs


Cabrini Malvern
181-183 Wattletree Road, Malvern VIC 3144
(03) 9508 1222
Cabrini Brighton
243 New Street, Brighton VIC 3186
(03) 9508 5888
Cabrini Prahran
646 High Street, Prahran VIC 3181
(03) 9508 1000

Why choose Cabrini for your bowel cancer treatment?

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


Cabrini’s commitment to bowel cancer research

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. 

We established a full time research department, which is funded and supported by Let’s Beat Bowel Cancer and the Cabrini Foundation, as well as a team of generous donors and benefactors.

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.


What we offer

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:

  • Chemotherapy, immunotherapy or targeted treatments at day oncology or inpatient wards
  • Clinical trials, including Phase 1 studies and special access programs, allowing patients to receive drugs before they are subsidised by the government
  • Education programs and a chemotherapy diary
  • Genetic counselling
  • Living with Cancer, a free group education session, located at Cabrini Brighton
  • Look Good, Feel Better program
  • Medical imaging, including state-of-the-art PET (positron emission tomography) scan and interventional radiology, including PICC lines and ports
  • On-site radiotherapy with GenesisCare Radiation Oncology
  • Pain and palliative care services
  • Pastoral care services
  • Psycho-oncology, psychiatry, dietetics/nutrition, physiotherapy, exercise physiology and rehabilitation programs
  • Stomal therapy
  • Surgery
  • Wig and headwear service – a free wig service located at Cabrini Brighton

Specialists and health professionals

The below specialists and medical professionals are active members of the bowel cancer multidisciplinary team reviewing patient cases on a regular basis. For a comprehensive list of Cabrini specialists, please visit our Find a Doctor page.

Colorectal Surgeons

Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeons

Medical Oncologists

Radiation Oncologists


  • Dr Ann Niap
  • Dr David Nickless
  • Dr Christine Qian


Cabrini Stomal Therapist

  • Jo Campbell


  • Mariagrazia De Luca


Useful resources

Commonly asked questions

  • What is bowel cancer?

    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.

  • How common is bowel cancer?
    • Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in Australia, after lung cancer
    • Australia has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world, with more than 14,000 new cases diagnosed each year
    • About 4000 Australians die from the disease annually, eclipsing deaths from breast or prostate cancer
    • In Victoria alone, more than 1300 die each year – more than triple the state’s road toll
    • Bowel cancer affects men and women of all ages in almost equal numbers
    • One in 12 Australians will develop bowel cancer in their lifetime
    • The risk of developing bowel cancer increases with age
    • While 90 per cent of bowel cancers occur in people aged 50 and over, about 1000 younger Australians are diagnosed each year

    For further information about bowel cancer, please refer to our ‘Let’s Beat Bowel Cancer‘ website FAQs page

  • Is bowel cancer preventable?

    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.

  • What is screening?

    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.

  • How important is food and exercise during treatment?

    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.

  • Can I participate in a clinical trial?

    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.

  • How much will my treatment cost?

    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.

  • Is financial assistance available?

    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.