Nearly 15,000 Australians are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year with an annual death toll of 4000, more than three times the yearly number of road deaths.
And these are the shocking statistics that a joint venture by Bowel Cancer Australia and Victorian cancer group Let’s Beat Bowel Cancer is hoping to change.
“Don’t be a fool – test your stool”, launched last month and running till the end of March, is an annual awareness campaign that aims to encourage Australians – especially those over 50 – to have early screening for bowel cancer.
Bowel Cancer Australia CEO Julien Wiggins says he hopes the campaign will make it difficult for people to ignore the importance of bowel cancer screening.
“We need to put bowel cancer awareness and screening on the radar of all Australians – both men and women, young and old. It’s too important to ignore when you consider that if detected early, bowel cancer can be successfully treated in 90 per cent of cases.”
In fact, bowel cancer is one of the most curable types of cancer if detected early, however, fewer than 40 per cent of bowel cancers are detected early.
Colorectal surgeon, Professor Adrian Polglase of Let’s Beat Bowel Cancersays the new campaign will help to encourage Australians to include bowel cancer screening into their regular, routine health check-ups.
“If you’re 50 and over you should be screening for this cancer every one to two years," he says. "If you are under 50 you need to be bowel aware.
"If you have a family history of bowel cancer, or are experiencing symptoms such as a persistent change in bowel habit, blood in the stool, abdominal bloating, cramping abdominal pain or unexplained weight loss, I urge you to see your GP ASAP."
Bowel cancer screening tests are available to purchase from participating community pharmacies, online at testyourstool.org or by calling 1800 555 494.
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Australian Women's WeeklyToday 11:36am