Although Lynne completed her screening test last year, she isn’t alone in putting it off.
According to Cancer Council Australia, although the government sends out six million tests a year to eligible Aussies between the ages of 50 and 74, only four in 10 complete it.
Director of Cancer Control Policy at Cancer Council Australia, Megan Varlow, says research shows that while most Aussies intend to do the test, it takes a backseat to other commitments.
“Life gets in the way, and they forget or put it off as other things take priority,” she says.
“But the best thing is to do the test as soon as it arrives in the mail.”
If you can’t complete the test immediately, Megan suggests putting the kit in the bathroom as soon as you receive it, so it remains visible and accessible.
Participating in the free National Bowel Cancer Screening Program means bowel cancer can be detected and treated earlier, with the mail-out kit containing everything you need to do the test at home.
“When it arrives, you will need to take a small sample from two separate bowel movements over two consecutive days,” Megan explains.
These are sent away in the return envelope and a pathology laboratory then analyses your sample.
For Lynne, this took her just two minutes over the two days.
“Honestly, it’s such a simple and easy test to do, and it couldn’t have been a more simple process,” she says.
“Knowing what I know now, and the fact that 90 per cent of bowel cancers can be successfully treated if detected early, I only wish I’d done it sooner.”
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New data shows that nearly all (97 per cent) Aussies say that if they found out a loved one’s life could be saved by doing a simple test, they would urge them to do so, and two-thirds (67 per cent) say they would encourage them until they took it.
“There are so many milestone moments to be lived later in life, it’s important we make preventative health a priority,” says Lynne.
“One of my close friends recently lost a loved one to bowel cancer, so it’s an important conversation to have with those closest to you. I am always encouraging my husband Paul to do [the test].”
If you have family and friends aged over 50, have a chat and encourage them to complete the kit – it might just save their life.
Lynne McGranger is a part of the Cancer Council and Australian government’s Get2it campaign, urging Australians over 50 to take a free screening test for bowel cancer. For more information on how you can “Get2it” click here.