Nationals MPs urge fellow Australians to undertake a bowel screen test
18 June 2015
FEDERAL Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce and fellow MPs Keith Pitt and David Gillespie have scheduled long-overdue bowel screening tests for themselves and are encouraging Australians to do the same.
Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce said Bowel Cancer Awareness Month was as good a time as any to remind people to see their pharmacist or GP about having a bowel cancer screening test done.
“Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer of Australians, despite it being one of the very few
preventable cancers,” Mr Joyce said.
“About 90 per cent of bowel cancer cases can be treated successfully if found early, but unfortunately fewer than 40 per cent are detected early.”
Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said it was during an ad-break in last month’s State of Origin game that the three MPs realised they were due for a check-up.
“It’s something men don’t typically like to talk about, let alone get tested for,” Mr Pitt said.
“Most people think it only impacts men over the age of 50, but the fact is bowel cancer affects men and women, young and old.”
Member for Lyne David Gillespie, who is a gastroenterologist, supported his colleagues.
“The Coalition Government is investing an additional $95.9 million to ensure Australians aged 50 to 74 receive a free, at home bowel cancer screening kit every two years by 2020,” Dr Gillespie said.
“Those people who experience symptoms such as blood in the bowel movement, unexplained weight loss or abdominal pain need to see their doctor for a colonoscopy.
“Regular consumption of high fibre and calcium rich foods, such as apples and milk, and limiting your alcohol and red meat intake can help protect against bowel cancer.”
Bowel Cancer Australia CEO Julien Wiggins thanked the MPs for their advocacy, and welcomed the Government’s listing of important bowel cancer treatments on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
“Erbitux and Avastin are now available as first-line and second-line treatment options for patients with metastatic bowel cancer,” Mr Wiggins said.
“The availability of these treatments, together with greater access to screening, will help improve bowel cancer survival rates which are currently at 66 per cent while other common cancers are at around 90 per cent.
“Medical guidelines recommend screening from age 50 every 1-2 years. Screening can be accessed via the Federal Government’s free program if you are 50, 55, 50, 65, 70 & 74. Everyone else needs to see their GP or pharmacist for a BowelScreen Australia® test.”
You can support the important work of Bowel Cancer Australia on Red Apple Day (Wednesday June 17, 2015) by purchasing a Bowel Cancer Awareness Ribbon or participating in a fundraising event near you. For more information go to www.redappleday.org. June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month.