1,300 Victorians could be saved with regular bowel screening

Monday 6 October, 2014

Seniors Festival a reminder for seniors to take care of their bowels.

Today Cancer Council Victoria is launching a bowel cancer screening campaign to coincide with the start of the 2014 Victorian Seniors Festival (5-12 October).

Cancer Council Victoria’s Screening Manager, Kate Broun, said: “The theme of the festival this year is ‘taking good care of yourself’ so this campaign asks Victorians aged 50 and over to take care of their bowels.

“Many people don’t realise that bowel cancer is the second-largest cause of cancer death in Australia, yet it is curable in around 90 per cent of cases if detected early. In Victoria, around 1,300 people die each year. Almost twice as many people who die from breast cancer.”

According to Ms Broun, early detection is the key to decreasing deaths from bowel cancer and all Victorians over the age of 50 should screen for bowel cancer every two years with a simple at-home test.

“The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program allows for this life saving test to be mailed to all Victorians when they turn 50, 55, 60 and 65. But only 3 in 10 eligible Victorians are completing the test. If more people participated in the free screening program, more cases of bowel cancer could be found at an earlier stage when they are easiest to treat,” said Mr Broun.

“We are lucky enough to have a program that can detect early-stage cases, so it’s up to eligible Victorians to take the test and dramatically reduce their risk. We recommend screening every two years so if you fall outside the target group, you can purchase a bowel cancer test kit from your local pharmacy or order a kit online from the Cancer Council.”

Linda Williams from Kensington lost her father to bowel cancer after he was diagnosed at 69 years of age.

“We had a great relationship. He was a really good mate as well as being my father. Not long after he was diagnosed with bowel cancer, they found secondary spots on his liver, which grew and ultimately led to his death. It could have been different. If he had the test, it might have picked it up that bit earlier and he might still be alive today.”

Talk to your GP or purchase a bowel screening kit online today at www.cancervic.org.au/boweltest

Updated: 06 Oct, 2014