Physician, Associate Professor Barry Morphett wants to remind the rest of us failing to be so proactive that 90 percent of early-detected bowel cancers can be treated and cured.
‘It is most unfortunate that locals aren’t screening because it costs nothing and, although completing the screening kit may seem unpleasant, it’s pain-free and could save your life,’ he says.
South West Healthcare hopes to improve on this statistic, a pattern seen across Australia. We’ve commenced a Bowel Cancer Prevention Project funded by the Department of Health and Human Services to encourage every eligible local to do the screening to minimise their chances of becoming one of the 77 Australians dying from this disease every week.
The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program is sending a free test kit to the homes of 50 to 74 year olds. This screening test can help detect small amounts of blood – possible early signs of pre-cancerous polyps or cancer in its earliest stages – when it’s easier to treat and cure. It’s one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of bowel cancer. It’s also one of the most curable types of cancer if found early. In other words, early detection counts. Big time.
And that’s the message our SWH Bowel Cancer Prevention Project Manager Dr Margie Morrice is determined to drive home. Completing this screening test prevents cancer. ‘It’s quick. And it’s easy,’ she says.
Now working with local medical experts including physicians, doctors and other health professionals to find new ways to get this message out, Margie is also identifying locals to champion the cause. Dr Morphett is on board and he’s encouraging people to talk to their doctor if they haven’t received the test kit, need some help completing the kit or want some advice about their cancer risk.
SWH Primary, Community & Regional Services Director Craig Fraser is also championing the cause. ‘We are excited to have been chosen as one of only a handful of services to be funded for this two-year project,’ he says, adding South West Healthcare is committed to raising awareness of bowel cancer, actively seeking new ways to get the early-detection screening message out into the public arena and making sure we have facilities in place to provide follow-up care, if needed.
‘Huge numbers of people and their families continue to be touched by bowel cancer and many of these could have been prevented by people undertaking this simple test.
'Our aim is to reduce the number of people getting this terrible disease and one way to do that is people screening themselves at home. Don’t ignore it. It may help save your life,’ Craig warns.