Comedy gives a new meaning to bowel screening

Monday 21 November, 2016

Toilet humour is performed alongside important lessons about cancer prevention in a new upcoming stand-up comedy show for the Victorian Koori community.

Flushed! A coonie could save your life is being performed around the state. The coonie (pronounced ku-nee) comedy aims to remove stigmas in the community around bowel screening and is performed by Denise McGuinness, 2010 Deadly Funny winner. 

Bowel cancer is the second-most common cancer in the Victorian Koori community.

“Delivering a health message through humour empowers our community to be able to have those difficult conversations that they would normally feel real shame about” Ms McGuinness said.

“Even if you feel deadly, bowel cancer can develop without symptoms, but 90 per cent of cases can be cured if found early. Most people are sweet, but if you’re not, chances are you can do something about it.

“There’s no shame in doing a bowel screening kit. It’s clean, you can do it in the comfort of your own home and it’s free.”

The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program sends the free kit to eligible Australians. In 2016, the program invites men and women turning 50, 55, 60, 64, 65, 70, 72 and 74 to screen for bowel cancer. Each year more age groups are being invited to participate in free bowel cancer screening. By 2020, all Australians aged 50 to 74 will be invited to screen every two years.

To find out how to get a kit, speak with your Aboriginal health worker or GP. FOBTs are also available through some GPs, pharmacies and health care funds.

The comedy is part of a larger project to increase the cancer screening rates for bowel, breast and cervical cancers in the Victorian Aboriginal community.

Local community members Uncle Jack Charles and Aunty Alma Thorpe are among the ambassadors of the radio and print campaign that emphasises that cancer screening is a part of staying healthy.

The comedy is part of the Aboriginal Cancer Screening Project, funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and implemented by Cancer Council Victoria in collaboration with the VAHS, in partnership with BreastScreen Victoria, PapScreen Victoria and the Victorian Cervical Cytology Registry.

Images of the Denise and the campaign’s ambassadors are available upon request.