Health Australians 'too busy' for bowel screening

22:57  16 april  2018
22:57  16 april  2018 Source:   MSN

Australians are 'too busy' for bowel cancer screening. Here's why you should make time

  Australians are 'too busy' for bowel cancer screening. Here's why you should make time Bowel cancer kills conversation, but it doesn't have to kill you. That's the message behind a new campaign urging Australians aged 50-74 to use their government-funded, home-delivered bowel cancer screening kit as soon as they receive it in the mail.

Bowel cancer begins when cells in the bowel lining grow too quickly. These growths are often benign. By 2020 all Australians between the ages of 50 and 74 will receive a free bowel cancer screening kit every two years.

Greater access to bowel cancer screening for all Australians . Talk to your GP or pharmacist today about BowelScreen Australia ®. Or purchase a test online or by phoning 1800 555 494. Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in Australia (after lung cancer)

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People are too busy to participate in the national bowel screening program even though the three-minute test could save their life.

Data released on Monday shows 40 per cent of respondents who received the free and potentially life-saving bowel cancer screening kits in 2017 did not use it.

Many said they ignored the test because they did not have the time.

Professor David Currow, Chief Officer and CEO of the Cancer Institute NSW says its critical older Australians take the test because bowel cancer can be successfully treated in 90 per cent of cases if detected early.

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Bowel Cancer Australia encourages all Australians from age 50, who do not have symptoms or a family history of bowel cancer, to undertake bowel cancer screening every 1 to 2 years using a Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT).

"So please don't leave these kits in your drawer or wait until you are experiencing symptoms," said Professor Currow.

A survey conducted by the Cancer Institute of New South Wales found 40 per cent of the respondents said they did not have time to do the three-minute do-it-yourself test, while 15 per cent said they simply forgot.

Three per cent said embarrassment prevented them from taking it.

Christopher Horn, Bowel Cancer Screening Manager at Cancer Institute NSW says the test is "clean" and very quick.

Mr Horn warned having had a recent colonoscopy is not a safeguard and that screening is still essential.

The other important message, he says, is that people can have no symptoms and still have bowel cancer.

More than 16,000 Australians will be diagnosed with bowel cancer every year.

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Bowel cancer begins when cells in the bowel lining grow too quickly. These growths are often benign. By 2020 all Australians between the ages of 50 and 74 will receive a free bowel cancer screening kit every two years.

Australians aged between 50 and 74 receive a free home screening kit in the mail as part of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program. Why screen for bowel cancer? Bowel cancer kills 80 Australians every week. Symptoms often appear too late.

Data from the NSW Cancer Registry shows that about 60 per cent of people with bowel cancer find out it has already spread to other organs like the liver or lungs by the time they are diagnosed, reducing the chances of successfully treating it.

To improve bowel cancer survival, early detection is critical and people aged 50 to 74 are encouraged to use the test kit as soon they receive it in the mail.

"A couple of minutes spent doing the test could save months of invasive treatment later on and chemotherapy," said Mr Horn.

Reasons For Not Taking Bowel Screen Test:

* Don't have time (40 per cent);

* Forgot (15 per cent);

* Already had a colonoscopy (10 per cent);

* Too embarrassing (3 per cent);

* No symptoms (1 per cent).

(Source: Cancer Institute NSW)

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