New figures from the Cancer Institute NSW show that in 2021, almost 226 people in Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) will be diagnosed with bowel cancer and around 81 will die from the disease.
However, experts say a simple test could change this. Taking part in regular bowel cancer screening can help detect cancer early and, in some cases, help to prevent cancer by picking up changes before cancer develops.
The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program sends a bowel cancer screening test kit to all eligible Australians aged 50 to 74, every two years. This kit, which can be done in a person’s home, can detect potential warning signs of bowel cancer at a very early stage, before symptoms develop.
Currently in NSW, only 40.8 percent of test kits sent out by the
WNSWLHD Director Cancer Services and Innovation Dr. Ruth Jones, also urged men and women aged 50 to 74 to screen for bowel cancer.
“Around 81 people in WNSWLHD will lose their life to bowel cancer this year. My message to everyone in our community is do the test when it comes in the post. Don’t put it off. This piece of mail could save your life. We need people to stop putting the test away in a drawer and forgetting about it.”
Over the past five years, the NSW Government, through the Cancer Institute NSW, has invested more than $25 million in bowel cancer, including for public awareness and education campaigns, and grants to local community and health organisations to promote bowel cancer screening.
For more information on the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, visit cancer.nsw.gov.au and if you have any symptoms or change in bowel habits, please talk to your GP.