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No butts about it: stand-up comic urges Aboriginal community to screen for bowel cancer

Tuesday 30 July, 2019

There’s a time and a place for toilet humour – and a stand-up comedy show about bowel cancer prevention is exactly that place.

Flushed! A Coonie Could Save Your Life, will be performed by award-winning comedian, Denise McGuinness, at Rumbalara Elders Facility on Thursday, 1 August to highlight the importance of bowel screening for the Victorian Koori community.

Bowel cancer is the second-most common cancer in the Victorian Koori community, and Ms McGuinness is hoping the coonie (pronounced ku-nee) comedy will help remove stigma around the at-home bowel screening test.

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

“Even if you feel deadly, bowel cancer can develop without symptoms, but more than 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 test.
It’s clean, you can do it in the comfort of your own home and it’s free.”

Cancer Council Victoria Aboriginal Liaison Officer, Andrea Casey, said bowel screening in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community is very low at only 21%.

“Less than a quarter of people from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community participate in bowel screening, compared to 41% of non-Aboriginal people,” Ms Casey said.

“Because of these low screening rates, Indigenous Australians also have a lower chance of surviving five years following a bowel cancer diagnosis (57.7% vs 67.3% [1]). Encouraging more people aged 50 to 74 within the community to do the bowel screening test is crucial to closing the gap.

“So, when you receive the free, at-home bowel screening kit in the mail, do it. It could save your life.”

Cancer Council encourages all Victorians aged 50-74 to do the home test for bowel cancer every two years. Around 100 Australians die of bowel cancer every week, but more than 90% of bowel cancers could be cured if detected early.

Bowel cancer can develop with no warning signs, which is why doing the test is so important – even if you feel fine.

Need advice or help with the home test kit? Speak to your Aboriginal Health Worker, doctor, or call Cancer Council Victoria on 13 11 20.

Event details

Date: Thursday 1 August
Time: 5:30pm
Location: Rumbalara Elders Facility Activity Centre, 95 Ford Road, Shepparton

Denise will perform at other regional locations as part of a larger Cancer Council campaign, which includes radio, print and convenient advertising, to increase bowel screening rates in the Victorian Aboriginal community.

For more information about bowel cancer screening visit: