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Make No.2 your No.1 priority

To coincide with Bowel Cancer Awareness month, Queensland Health is encouraging men and women over the age of 50 to make No. 2 your No. 1 priority.

Queensland Health’s Executive Director of Preventative Health Kaye Pulsford said the campaign promotes awareness of bowel cancer screening and aims to increase participation in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.

“Australia has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world, with around one in 23 people developing bowel cancer during their lifetime,” she said.

“In 2013, there were 2912 new cases of colorectal cancer, and 1032 deaths in Queensland as a result of colorectal cancer.

“The good news is, if detected early, treatment has up to a 90 per cent success rate.

“Anyone over the age of 50 is at a higher risk, which is why the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program delivers free screening kits in the mail to eligible men and women aged between 50 and 74.

“The kit is easy to use; the process is quick, non-invasive and can be done in the privacy of your own home.

“I strongly encourage all Queenslanders to undertake early screening; it’s your best chance at identifying any abnormalities and treating them early.”

The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program is a Commonwealth Government initiative that provides a free test kit to eligible men and women to test for early signs of bowel cancer.

“Despite the effectiveness of early testing, and the simplicity of the test itself, participation rates in Queensland are very low,” Ms Pulsford said.

“The campaign Queensland Health has in market features Australian comedian and actor Shane Jacobson as a spokesperson on the issue, promoting the importance of using the screening kit as soon as it arrives in the mail.”

Ms Pulsford said bowel cancer develops in the wall or lining of the colon and begins when cells grow too quickly, forming a clump known as a polyp or adenoma.

“Most are benign, but over several years, some can become cancerous and if left untreated, the cancer can spread to other areas of the body,” she said.

“The best way to reduce your risk of bowel cancer is to be physically active, limit alcohol intake, avoid smoking, eat a healthy and balanced diet, and participate in bowel cancer screening.

“The National Health and Medical Research Council clinical guidelines recommend that all people aged 50 years and over with no symptoms be screened for bowel cancer every two years.

“So once you hit 50, look out for a free bowel cancer screening kit in the mail and make it your priority to do the test.”

The multi-channel campaign is running across the state until 22 July 2017. Find out more about bowel cancer screening, including when your kit will arrive, at Bowel cancer screening and prevention.

Media contact: +61 7 3708 5376

Last updated: 22 June 2017