NATIONAL BOWEL CANCER SCREENING PROGRAM
The Cancer Council recently ran GP education at Glen Iris Medical Group on the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program. We learned that our area – South East Melbourne has one of the the lowest screening rates within the program. We also learned that if 100,000 people without symptoms screen for Bowel Cancer with a simple test kit – the statistics show there will be 19 deaths in that population. If 100,000 people have no screening at all, there will be 60 deaths within that population.
Bowel Cancer takes more Australian lives than breast, prostate or skin cancer. Bowel Cancer is one of the most common cancers in Australia, especially for people aged over 50. If found early, bowel cancer can be successfully treated 90% of the time.
Test kits are sent out around your 50th birthday, and every 2 years until you reach 75.
We strongly recommend you do the test – even if you don’t have any symptoms or family history.
You should talk to your GP before doing the test if you have:
- A significant family history of bowel cancer,
- Had a bowel condition in the last year which is under treatment, or
- Had a colonoscopy in the last 5 years or have one scheduled.
Symptoms of bowel cancer can include:
- Blood in your bowel motion,
- Persistent diarrhoea or constipation
- Unexplained tiredness or weight loss, or
- Abdominal pain.
Symptoms do not mean that you have bowel cancer, but if you have any symptoms please talk to your GP – don’t wait to get a test in the post.
For more information please talk to your Doctor, visit http://www.cancerscreening.gov.au/bowel or the screening program information line on 1800 118 868. If your kit has expired you can order another by calling the information line.