Bowel cancer tests promoted for FOBruary
Pharmacy is being urged to get behind FOBruary, a health promotion campaign aimed at reducing the number of Australian deaths caused by bowel cancer.
The promotion, launched by Let’s Beat Bowel Cancer – a Cabrini Health Initiative, calls on all Australians over the age of 50 to have an annual FOB (Faecal Occult Blood) Test during February to screen for the disease.
According to Professor Adrian Polglase, colorectal surgeon and bowel cancer expert, pharmacy can have a role in promoting the initiative.
‘During the month of February all pharmacists and their staff are urged to encourage those over the age of 50 to have a FOB test to screen for bowel cancer,’ he says. ‘Many Australians are unaware the test is easy, non-invasive and can be done in the privacy of their own home.
‘As the most commonly used health service provider, pharmacists and pharmacy staff are ideally placed to take an active role in the delivery of preventative health in Australia.’
Currently, the Federal Government funded National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) invites one-off participation from people turning 50, 55 and 65. This approach excludes about 5.4 million Australians.
Each year, almost 5000 Australians die from bowel cancer, despite research indicating that 9 out of 10 bowel cancers are curable, if detected early. Bowel cancer often has no obvious signs until it reaches the advanced stages, and if more Australians did an annual at-home FOB test, there would be a greater chance of early detection and fewer deaths, Let’s Beat Bowel Cancer says.
Did you know?
- Bowel cancer is the most common internal cancer affecting both men and women in Australia.
- 90 per cent of cases occur in people aged over 50, but it can present at any age.
- Every week, bowel cancer kills around 80 Australians: that’s roughly one person every two hours.
- There are more than 14,000 new cases of bowel cancer diagnosed in Australia every year.
- Early detection through regular screening greatly increases the chance of survival.
For more information, visit www.letsbeatbowelcancer.com.au or ring 1800 55 65 75 to find out about providing the BowelScreen Australia Program to your community.