Cancer Council Victoria has commenced a state-wide search to find bowel cancer screening champions to share their stories as part of a new campaign.
Bowel cancer is Australia’s second-largest cancer killer, and yet a majority of the eligible population is not completing the free at-home screening test.
Cancer Council Screening Manager Kate Broun said they are looking for people who have completed an at-home screening test (known as a FOBT) and are willing to talk publicly about their experience.
“If bowel cancer screening has saved your life or the life of someone close to you we would love to hear from you,” Ms Broun said.
“Your story could encourage others aged over 50 to do this simple, life-saving test.”
The free screening test is mailed to men and women aged between 50 and 74 as part of a national program.
In 2014-2015, 648,001 Victorians were invited to complete the at-home test but just 258,521 participated, which is a rate of just 39.9 per cent.
The lowest screening regions were Casey - South with 32.5 per cent participation, Tullamarine - Broadmeadows with 32.8 per cent and Wyndham with 34.7 per cent.
Topping the list was East Gippsland with 51.2 per cent participation, Surf Coast - Bellarine Peninsula with 47.4 per cent and Wangaratta - Benalla with 46.5 per cent.
Ms Broun said that the early detection of bowel cancer through the at-home screening test can save lives.
“The test is available for people without symptoms so you can find early signs of bowel cancer before you realise anything is wrong,” she said.
“Over 90 per cent of bowel cancers can be successfully treated if found early.”
Cancer Council Victoria plans to share stories about people who have completed the at-home screening test in a campaign running across Victoria in mid-2017.
To share your story contact Emma Schreiber at Cancer Council on (03) 9514 6455 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program visit http://www.cancerscreening.gov.au/bowel