FRIENDS Vince Cusack and John Pryor both credit the Rotary Bowelscan program with saving their lives.
Vince was helping put the bowelscan kits together, 27 years ago, when someone suggested he should take the test.
“I felt fine at the time, but decided to take the test anyway,” Vince said.
Lucky he did, because one week later he received a letter from Rotary instructing him to visit his doctor. Within two weeks he was in hospital having his bowel removed.
“I’d recommend it to anyone. definitely get tested. I’ve had 27 bonus years so far and my latest test was all-clear,” Vince said.
John has a similar story. A year after Vince had his brush with cancer, John decided to take the test during Rotary Bowelscan month.
“It turned out I had 40 or 50 polyps in the bowel and had to have my large bowel removed,” John said.
John was off work for three months and had to make some adjustments afterwards, but says he now only needs a check-up every three years.
Rotary Bowelscan month begans this week and bowelscan kits are available at every pharmacy in the region.
The kits are only $8 each and can be used in the privacy of your own home.
Local coordinator Kevin Sharp said that each year approximately 20,000 Bowelscan kits are distributed within this Rotary district – which spans from Woolgoolga in the north, to Forster in the south and out west to Lightening Ridge.
“The truth is that more people die from bowel cancer than from motor vehicle accidents each year. But 90 per cent of bowel cancers are cured if detected early,” Kevin said.
The program is currently in its 27th year. So far in this district alone, the program has resulted in the detection of 600 cancers, and over 2000 cases of polyps – which can lead to cancer if left untreated.
Bowelscan kits are available from Cundletown and Lansdowne post offices as well as all pharmacies in Taree, Wingham, Harrington, Old Bar, Hallidays Point, Forster-Tuncurry and Gloucester. Rotary members will also distribute kits from stalls in the three shopping centres in Taree from May 4 - 11.