is Victoria’s second leading cause of cancer death, claiming the lives of more
than 1,300 people each year. To understand the enormity of this – bowel cancer
kills four times more Victorians than road accidents.
Yet – if found
early – 90% of bowel cancers can be successfully treated.
Early detection is
the purpose of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program. Aimed at people aged between 50 and 74, the program
involves a very effective at-home test, which arrives by post and is completely
free of charge. Simple and quick to do, the test helps detect bowel cancer in
its early stages, when no other symptoms or warning signs may be evident.
only 40% of Victorians actually do the test when it’s sent to them.
Victoria CEO Todd Harper said it was the biggest public education campaign the
organisation had ever rolled out.
“Our new campaign
aims to encourage more people to do this screening test,” Todd said. “The need
is compelling – if participation increased to 50% by 2021, as many as 748 cases
of colorectal cancer could be prevented over five years.”
This campaign was
only made possible because of the donation of a generous supporter. Now we’re
calling on all supporters to help us spread the word to friends and family
about the importance of doing the test.
Remember, it could
save your life. For more information visit http://www.cancervic.org.au/bowel/
Helen from Melbourne was aged 56 and feeling 100 per cent healthy when she received the home screening kit in the mail. Fortunately she completed the test without hesitation.
“The test established that I had bowel cancer” she said. “I had no symptoms and I can't say how long the cancer might have been there. “Without the screening program who knows what may have happened.”
Thanks to the early detection, Helen’s cancer was successfully treated and ten years on, her cancer has not returned.
"People often think it won't happen to them, but I'm proof this is not the case. I urge you; do the free test when you receive it in the mail. It could save your life," she said.
Still need convincing? Here are Helen's top tips.
- Give it a go. Many people put off the test because they're afraid they will get it wrong. It's actually very easy! I followed the instructions and collected my samples, first go.
- Don't fear the ick. The test is not at all invasive or gross. It's simple, easy, and best of all you can do it at home.
- Don't put it off. Finding my cancer early meant it could be successfully treated. Because of this, I've been able to keep doing the things I love, like skiing holidays with my husband.
- Talk to your loved ones about bowel cancer and urge them to do the test if they're eligible. It could save their life too.