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How a health cliche can save your life

It’s the health lesson we all know but too often ignore: prevention is always better than a cure.

However, less than 50% of National Bowel Cancer Screening Program Kit recipients return their completed tests.

If the return rate were raised to 60 per cent, University of Melbourne Herman Chair of Primary Care Cancer Research, Professor Jon Emery, says “we could save 84,000 lives by 2040”.

WHAT ARE THE ROADBLOCKS FOR DIAGNOSING BOWEL CAUSER?

There are a few – only 43.5 per cent of people who are sent the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program kit in the mail currently do it. This is a missed opportunity to detect cancer before symptoms develop.

People also don’t always recognise important symptoms of bowel cancer that they should discuss with their GP, such as blood in their poo, a persistent change in their bowel habit (diarrhoea or constipation), persistent abdominal pain or unexpected weight loss.

Who IS THE MOST SUSCEPTIBLE TO BOWL CANCER?

The risk of developing bowel cancer in men is higher than that in women. In 2021, bowel cancer was diagnosed in approximately 8247 men (and 7239 women)*

The risk of developing bowel carcinoma increases with age, especially after the age of 50. That is why the National Breast Cancer Screening Program is initiated at this age.

People with a family history or bowel cancer are more at risk than those who have had bowel cancer diagnosed in the past, such as those who have a parent diagnosed before 55 years old, or two relatives who have bowel cancer.

WHY DO POLYPS CANCER? ISN’T IT IMPOSSIBLE TO PREVENT THIS FROM HAPPENING?

Most bowel cancers begin as polyps. Multiple changes in genes can lead to polyps. This means that a polyp could eventually become bowel cancer. Coloscopy is used to remove polyps.

It’s the fourth most-diagnosed cancer in Australia, what can we do to increase survival rates?

It is important to detect bowel cancer earlier, in order to improve survival rates. If we could increase screening rates from the current level to 60%, we could save 84,000 life by 2040.

WHY IS BOWEL CANER NOT EARLY DETECTED ENOUGH?

BOWEL CANCER HAS A 90 PER CENT SURVIVAL RATE IF DETECTED EARLY, YET IT’S STILL THE SECOND DEADLIEST CANCER IN AUSTRALIA. WHY DOES IT NOT GET DETECTED EARLY ENOUGH IN A LARGE SECTION OF THE POPULATION

This is a reminder of how important it is to be early detected. About half of bowel cancers can be detected early, when treatment is more likely to succeed. It is important that people take the bowel cancer screening test as soon as they get it.

Cancer Council and the Australian Government are urging Australians aged 50 – 74 to Get2it and participate in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program. Visit www.get2it.com for more information cancer.org.au/bowelscreening.

*Source: Cancer data for Australia, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (211)

Original publication as Health lesson as simple as ABC: ‘avoid bowel cancer’ with free kit

Source: news.com.au

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