VIDEO | Residents of the Far North urged to check their poo



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The small number of Australians participating in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program has prompted the Cancer Council to launch an urgent call for more Australians to complete the free life-saving test.

The new national campaign, funded by a $10 million Federal Government grant launching today, will be the biggest campaign ever run in Australia to promote bowel cancer screening.

Only 39 per cent of eligible North Queensland residents are participating in life-saving bowel cancer screening, according to recently released statistics from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

The data shows that participation in the National Bowel Cancer Screening program in Queensland is a concern, with the state ranking third-lowest in Australia. 

Only four in 10 eligible Australians participate in the screening program.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan urged locals living in North Queensland eligible for bowel cancer screening to make completing their test a priority.

“Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in Queensland, with more than 3070 Queenslanders diagnosed yearly,” Ms McMillan said.

Sadly, around 1025 people die from bowel cancer each year in Queensland. Bowel cancer rarely has symptoms in its early stages, but if detected early, can have up to a 90 per cent five-year survival rate.

“Early detection is vital, as the earlier we can detect cancer, the more effectively it can be treated,” Ms McMillan said.

Bowel screening involves testing for bowel cancer using a free faecal occult blood test (FOBT) for people who do not have any obvious symptoms of the disease.

The aim of the screening tool is to find cancers early when they are easier to treat. Screening can find polyps, which may develop into cancer over time.

“If you’re eligible to take part in bowel cancer screening, it is vital you complete the screening kits as soon as you receive it in the mail – it could save your life,” Ms McMillan said.

“The test is quick, simple and you can complete it in the comfort of your own home.”

The National Bowel Cancer Screening program currently invites men and women aged between 50-74 to screen every two years via a free, easy-to-complete kit sent in the mail.

The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program aims to continue to reduce deaths from bowel cancer through early detection of the disease.

For more information visit the Bowel Cancer Australia website

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