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When scooping your poop could save your life…

It’s free, convenient and saves lives – yet around 60 percent of eligible Queenslanders aren’t completing their bowel screening kits.

Executive Director of the Preventive Health Branch, Kaye Pulsford said the latest data, released by the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare, shows out of the 800,858 Queenslanders who were sent the kits in 2016-17, only 326,441 completed and returned them.

“Around 40 percent of Queenslanders aged 50 to 74 who received the kits completed and returned them,” she said.

“When compared to the previous year, Queensland’s participation rate has remained steady, with less than half a percent increase on the 2015-16 participation rate.

“While I’m glad it’s increasing, even if it’s only slightly, I urge people to complete the kit as it may just save their life”

Ms Pulsford said around 90 percent of bowel cancers can be successfully treated if detected early.

“Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers in both men and women, but it’s also one of the most treatable cancers if found early,” she said.

“Bowel cancer generally develops slowly in the body, meaning it can grow without causing noticeable symptoms – that’s where the importance of screening comes in.

“No one wants to get up close and personal with their poo, but with bowel cancer killing around 1,000 Queenslanders every year, spending quality time with your poo every couple of years could be lifesaving.

“The screening kit is delivered straight to your door – the only steps you need to take is completing the test during your next visit to the toilet, and posting it back using the pre-paid envelope that comes with the kit.

“I’m urging all Queenslanders who receive the kit in the mail not to throw it away, and to make screening a priority. It’s free, convenient, easy to do, and has saved many lives.”

55-year-old Brisbane resident, Colin, knows all too well the importance of bowel cancer screening.

When Colin received his first kit a few years back, he did what most people do – threw it away.

“I felt that I didn’t need to do the screening – I’m hardly ever sick so I didn’t think it was important,” he said.

When the kit arrived again last year, he was persuaded to get it done.

“My wife kept reminding me to do the test. She made sure the kit was on my bedside table in full view, so I eventually did it.

“The kit was very simple to do.”

Colin received a call back soon after sending the kit off for testing, and was booked in for a colonoscopy. The colonoscopy found bowel cancer.

“I was completely surprised – I had no signs of having a problem of any sort,” he said.

“My family and friends were also shocked, because they know I’m active, relatively healthy and didn’t have any symptoms.”

Colin had a bowel resection to remove the cancer, and is recovering well. He is sharing his story in the hopes he can influence as many people as possible to do the screening.

“I work in construction, and I suspect other people in the industry make up a large percentage of the people not completing the screening.

“Since my colonoscopy, I’ve been very vocal on every job site, making sure everyone around me knows the importance of doing the screening kit.

“I say to people ‘you’re a long time from dead, just do the screening’.”


Media contact:               3708 5376

Last updated: 20 February 2019