Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

A simple and effective test - that's Bowelscan

Seymour GP explains the benefits.

CHALPAT SONTI May 9, 2014 3:19am

Seymour GP Elliot Jarman says the Bowelscan program is an easy way to detect early the second-biggest cancer killer.

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure — and they don’t come much easier or more effective than the Rotary Club of Seymour’s Bowelscan program.

Just ask Seymour general practitioner Elliot Jarman.

‘‘We always pick up a few people every year with this test,’’ he said.

‘‘Ninety per cent of bowel cancers are treatable but the trick is getting it early enough. People who have rectal bleeding should go and see their GP — they already have a positive test. But this is for those people who can’t see the bleeding and it’s much more easier to do than the national screening program.’’

That program is for 50-75 year-olds but comes with a complex set of instructions and isn’t particularly user-friendly.

‘‘Unfortunately only about one-third to 40 per cent of (eligible) people take it up,’’ he said.

‘‘There’s another two-thirds who don’t do it, but (Bowelscan) is much easier to understand.’’

And while Bowelscan is pitched at those aged 40 or older, Dr Jarman said it was worthwhile for some much younger people to also take the $10 test, which is available from pharmacies in Seymour, Nagambie, Yea, Broadford, Kilmore and Wallan.

‘‘It can be useful even from the age of 20 if you have a family history of bowel cancer, particularly if your mother or father have had it. Anyone from that age should have a regular screening process and particularly if they’re not having a regular colonoscopy.

Bowel cancer is the second-biggest cancer killer in Australia, after prostate cancer, with about 5000 deaths annually.

Risk factors apart from a family history or genetic susceptibility include alcohol consumption, diet, obesity and physical inactivity and medical factors including that it can be caused by a procedure.

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