BALLARAT’S Jan Drennan encourages her friends and family to talk bowel screening.
The bowel cancer survivor said the topic became less uncomfortable if it meant saving a loved one’s life.
Ms Drennan said her bowel cancer incidence came “out of the blue”. She routinely had a test each year then one year, two months out from her next scheduled test, Ms Drennan had a haemorrhage. Doctors discovered she had bowel cancer.
“It was quite a shock. I had no symptoms and it hadn’t been in my family at all,” Ms Drennan said. “I’m definitely much more aware of it. I make sure all my family and friends take the test – it’s very important.”
Rotary Club of Ballarat South Bowelscan district co-ordinator Gordon Williamson urged anyone aged over 40 to take a test this month. Rotary’s Bowelscan screening kits are easier to use, more effective and can be used every second year for most people.
Mr Williamson said a little discomfort in approaching the test could save your life.
“Males tend to be more resistant to it (taking the test) but it is so important to work into your health routine,” Mr Williamson said.
Ballarat South Rotary with Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre launched the new faecal immunochemical test that Rotary will subsidise through pharmacies for the month of May. Kits cost $15 and include pathology testing, post and results to your nominated doctor.
The key difference in the screening kit is that it requires a “brush” water sample rather than faecal material. Tests looks for blood, often undectected by the naked eye, in your bowel movement but not for bowel cancer.
Screening can help detect pre-cancerous polyps for removal during colonoscopy, or detect cancer in its earliest stages.
Bowel cancer is the second most common type of newly diagnosed cancer in Australia and third most cancer diagnosis in Victoria. Early detection and treatment has a 90 per cent survival rate for bowel cancer patients, according to Bowel Cancer Australian. But fewer than 40 per cent of cases are detected early.
BRICC director Steve Medwell said the partnership with Rotary was a good fit for the centre’s in more broadly engaging the community in prevention.
Rotary’s not-for-profit initiative was introduced in the late 1980s and works to enhance public bowel cancer awareness and the importance for men and women to get tested – and to support and remind each other.
Bowel cancer cases are predicted to affect 20,000 people by 2020, according to Bowel Cancer Australia.
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