JUNE is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

Janelle Saffin MP column for The Lismore Echo Thursday, June 13, 2019
Photo of test kit

JUNE is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and it’s a four-word statement that says it all – it is about awareness, screening, detection and saving lives.

I was among a number of MPs who last week spoke on bowel cancer as a matter of public importance in the Legislative Assembly.

I also have been making representations on behalf of some local residents who are concerned about waiting times for colonoscopies.

Bowel cancer is common; it kills more people in New South Wales than prostate cancer, breast cancer or melanoma.

My mother is a survivor of bowel cancer and I know the impact that it has had on her and on the family.

By 2020, the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program will have sent a free screening kits to all people aged 50 to 74.

It is a two-step process and a little bit messy, as poo matters are.

But the test is painless and it is free – or funded from our taxes, which is a good spend.

In New South Wales, one in 11 men and one in 15 women will be diagnosed with bowel cancer during their lifetime.

I found it surprising that only 36 per cent of eligible people in New South Wales take part in the national screening program.

The most recent data show that in New South Wales, 91 per cent of bowel cancers were found in people 50 years and over. Those are significant statistics from the Cancer Institute of NSW.

The Cancer Institute NSW says that we need to correct the gaps in awareness to significantly increase the number of people being screened and in turn reduce the number of people dying from the disease. This is why, more people need to take the test every two years so that bowel cancer can be detected earlier, treatment can be less invasive and more lives can be saved.

Hansard > Matter of Public Importance > Bowel Cancer

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