86 local bowel cancer deaths 86 too many

Monday 27 April 2015:

As part of the ‘a gift for living’ bowel cancer awareness campaign, the Cancer Council Victoria and I are encouraging local residents to take advantage of free home testing.

Under a staged expansion of the home kit programme announced by the Abbott Government at the launch of the campaign, more age groups will receive the kits more regularly.

Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in Australia with approximately 80 Australians dying each week – but only one third of Australians complete the testing kits sent to them.

Data from the Cancer Council’s Victorian Cancer Registry shows that in 2013 there were 78 new diagnoses of bowel cancer in the City of Frankston local government area and 128 new diagnoses in the larger Mornington Peninsula Shire.

In the same year, sadly 36 people died from the disease in the City of Frankston and 50 died in Mornington Peninsula Shire.

Up until this year, people between the age of 50 and 65 were only sent screening kits every five years. 70 and 74 year olds are now getting the kits under the expanded programme, with other groups to be rolled out in coming years.

86 people dying from bowel cancer in one year in our region is 86 too many, and I encourage everyone to complete and return their bowel cancer screening kit when they receive it.

The kit is simple and discreet to use in the privacy of your own home. We need more people completing their kits as bowel cancer often has no symptoms and early detection saves lives.

Kate Broun, Cancer Council Victoria Screening Manager said that while more Victorians are taking part in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program than the national average, we still have a long way to go.

“The test is very good at finding the very early bowel cancers, to give Australians who are diagnosed the best chance to treat the cancer and get back to their lives,” she added.

The Abbott Government has committed an additional $95.9 million to ensure Australians aged 50 to 74 would receive a free, at home bowel cancer screening kit every two years by 2020 rather than 2034 as was planned under the previous government. $3 million of the commitment will be dedicated to a promotional campaign that will run across print, radio and online media to make sure Australians who receive a bowel screening invitation are aware of its importance.

For more information, visit www.Australia.gov.au/bowelscreening or call the information line on 1800 11 88 68.