If you’re aged 50 to 74, you will receive a free bowel screening kit in the mail every two years, this simple test can find signs of bowel cancer before you notice any symptoms and can save your life.
Over 90% of bowel cancers can be treated if found early, however participation in this screening program has declined, which is putting more people at risk of not finding this deadly cancer early.
To address the declining screening rates and save lives, Cancer Council Victoria has launched a new campaign featuring bowel cancer survivor, Laurie.
Laurie had participated in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program by completing his first test when it arrived at age 50 and received a negative result. Two years later when he received the test again, he assumed he was still fine, he had no symptoms and felt healthy. He was ready to discard it, until his wife, a nurse, encouraged him to take the test again. Shockingly, Laurie was diagnosed with bowel cancer.
“Don’t risk your life, do the bowel screening test as soon as you get it. It saved my life, and it could save yours too,” said Laurie.
That simple choice to do the test changed Laurie’s life forever. If he hadn’t, he would not have been alive and would have missed so many experiences with his friends and family.
Laurie’s bowel cancer story could have been very different if he hadn’t completed his test. Doctors found a cancerous polyp located next to an artery which could have spread into his blood stream in less than a year, at which point the surgeon advised they wouldn’t have been able to save him.
“I’ve seen my daughter graduate, celebrated 30 years of marriage with my wife and I’ve taken a road trip with my son. I can’t believe how much I would have missed if I hadn’t done the test,” said Laurie.
In addition to sharing Laurie’s story, Cancer Council Victoria have developed tailored in-language messages and materials to encourage people in Vietnamese, Punjabi and Hindi communities to participate in bowel screening. Research shows these multicultural audiences have different barriers which is resulting in low screening rates in these audiences. Like all our campaigns, equity is key to achieving our goals and the team are working with health professionals and stakeholders who can amplify these messages among culturally diverse communities.
Cancer Council Victoria has led and supported bowel screening campaigns for many years, thanks to donations from generous Victorians and Government support. Research has shown that these bowel screening campaigns have saved hundreds of lives and increase bowel screening participation rates. Your donations help us to raise awareness of this powerful test, saving thousands of lives across the country.
“We’ve seen participation rates decline recently, with only 43.9 per cent of eligible Victorians returning their tests,” said Todd Harper AM, CEO Cancer Council Victoria. “We know that more than 90 per cent of bowel cancers can be successfully treated if they are found early.”
Aged 50-74? Don't take the risk, take the test
When you receive the test in the mail, open it up, put it in your bathroom straight away and do it next time you go. This test can save your life.
If your bowel screening test has been misplaced, lost, or expired, order a replacement at the National Cancer Screening Register.
You can also set a reminder to do the test via the Cancer Council Victoria website at cancervic.org.au/bowel.