THEATRE nurse Kimberley Rice sees bowel cancer effects in her work, but never thought the cancer would have such a big impact on her personal life.
Ms Rice’s mother was diagnosed with bowel cancer aged 47, after six weeks on and off antibiotics, but she fast had life-saving surgery.
Doctors strongly recommended Ms Rice’s father have a bowel screening, but he fobbed it off. Two years later, he experienced bleeding, he was tired and started losing weight fast. Ms Rice’s father had bowel cancer, it had spread in an “open-and-shut case”. He was given 12 months to live and died two weeks later.
“It was a massive shock, but I thought what I could do to make a difference. I chose to speak out, and encourage more people to get scans,” Ms Rice said.
Ballarat mayor Samantha McIntosh launched Ballarat South Rotary’s annual Bowelscan kit on Monday. Rotary will subsidise through pharmacies in May.
This year’s Rotary campaign has a particular focus on younger Australians, particularly those aged in their 40s, who are not yet eligible for the federal government’s free screening program.
Kits cost $15 and include pathology testing, post and results to your nominated doctor.
The key difference in this 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.
Cr McIntosh this was an issue no-one could afford to be embarrassed about and it was up to us all to speak up.