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Bowel cancer screening program targets Sunshine Coast
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 04 December 2007
Bowel Cancer affects one in 20 people in their lifetime.  The good news is that if it is detected early, there is a 90 per cent cure rate.     To reduce the number of people dying from this cancer, the Australian Government has funded a new population health initiative, The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.

 Queensland men and women turning either 55 or 65 years of age between 1 May 2006 and 30 June 2008 have started receiving invitations to participate in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.   

Local Nambour resident, Lydia Gangemi recently participated in the Queensland Bowel Cancer Screening Program.  

The Queensland Bowel Cancer Screening Program commenced on the Sunshine Coast 14 May 2007, and since that time about 300 invitation kits have been sent out each week to eligible people’s homes.    By June 2008, about 17,500 invitation kits will have been sent out to eligible people on the Coast.

Eligible people will receive an invitation in the mail through their Medicare registered address.    Included in the invitation is a Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT), which is a free and simple test performed in the privacy of your own home.    The test is then sent to a contracted pathology laboratory for testing.

Mrs Gangemi said when she received her invitation in the mail she thought will I do it, will I not.    So I read the booklet and instructions and realised the test was easy as pie to do.    I thought, I get my breasts checked, so why not do it.

Mrs Gangemi said she found the test very hygienic
Mrs Gangemi said she found the test very hygienic and would recommend the test to all those eligible to participate. 

All participants will receive their results in the mail.    Those with a positive test will be advised to contact their GP for referral for appropriate follow up, such as assessment colonoscopy.

“Within two weeks I received my results.    I was relieved to get a negative letter, Mrs Gangemi said.    It gave me piece of mind.”

When Mrs Gangemi received her invitation in the mail she did wonder why her husband did not receive an invitation.    Rochelle Coombs, the Health Promotion Officer with the Queensland Bowel Cancer Screening Program said the Program was being phased in stages, based on birth dates.

“It was important to implement the Program slowly to ensure the health services, such as colonoscopy services, were able to meet the increased demand,” she said.

In the meantime, Mrs Coombs suggests that people over 50 years of age who are ineligible for the Program and who want to be screened for bowel cancer should make an appointment to discuss screening with their GP.

The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program has been initiated by the Australian Government in collaboration with State/Territory health departments to help detect bowel cancer early and reduce the number of Australians who die each year from the disease.

For more information about the Queensland Bowel Cancer Screening Program phone 1300 766 927 or visit
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 04 December 2007 )
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