Bowelscan: The simple test that could save your life

ROTARY Bowelscan kits are on sale from this Thursday, May 1, and throughout May.

You can pick one up at pharmacies during the month or from stalls manned by Rotary members at both shopping centres from Saturday May 3 until Saturday May 10.

For $12, this simple test can prove a life saver.

Chairman of the Rotary District 9650 Bowelscan Committee Kevin Sharp said quite often in the early stages of bowel cancer, people have no symptoms.

"Most polyps eventually turn to cancer if they are not treated or removed."

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Since the Rotary Bowelscan was introduced in the Rotary district 28 years ago, 604 people have been picked up with cancer and more than 3000 people having polyps removed that hadn't turned into cancer.

"Statistics show more people are dying of bowel cancer than in road accidents," said Kevin.

Rotary recommends people aged 40 and above take the test regularly - but people even younger have had cancer detected by the test.

Kevin said it was picked up in one 32-year-old man, who had taken the test because his dad had experienced bowel cancer.

"If there is a family history there's more chances that you've got the gene."

Kevin said it can be common for people to "hide their heads in the sand" and say they don't want to know, but it's important they don't.

"This sort of thing creeps up on people...and its important to be detected early."

He tells of people who have had cancer picked up through the test who have come out the other side and are still alive today to see their children grow up and their grandchildren.

This year's Bowelscan kit is new.

It contains a registration card, two collection tubes, information on how to use the tubes, zip lock bag and return envelope.

Time is critical the test kits must be returned to your local pharmacy within five days of the first specimen collection.

Rotary will collect the returned kits and transport them to pathology for testing.

Ninety per cent of bowel cancer can be cured if detected early.

All 56 clubs in the Rotary district are participating in Bowelscan and some 17,000 kits will be sold - about 2000 kits are expected to be collected from the Taree area.

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