House debates

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Statements by Members

National Bowel Cancer Awareness Day

1:47 pm

Photo of Celia HammondCelia Hammond (Curtin, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

For those people born in 1970 and turning 50 this year, the best, if somewhat unusual, present you will receive is one from the Australian government. And the great news is that you'll receive it every second year until you turn 74! The gift is the bowel cancer home test kit, and I'm speaking about it today because it is National Bowel Cancer Awareness Day.

Bowel cancer is the third-most-common type of newly diagnosed cancer in Australia, and the second deadliest. Over 15,000 Australians are newly diagnosed each year and over 5,000 Australians die each year from bowel cancer. That's about 100 people per week. There is a higher risk for people aged over 50. The good news is that well over 90 per cent of bowel cancer cases can be treated successfully, if found early. That is why regular screening after the age of 50 is vital. It's also important to be aware of the symptoms: blood in bowel movements, unexplained weight loss, persistent change in bowel habits and severe abdominal pain. You also need to know your family medical history; in 30 per cent of all bowel cancer cases there's a family history or hereditary contribution.

Talking about colon cancer can be uncomfortable, but colon cancer is not a comfortable disease. Don't ignore the symptoms; see your doctor if you have any symptoms. And to the approximately 1,800 people turning 50 in Curtin this year: happy birthday, and look out for your special gift!