Rotary BowelCare (then BowelScan) commenced in Rotary D9680 in 1990. With more than 12,000 new cases of bowel cancers diagnosed each year, it is important that all Australians over 40 consider annual self-screening. One in twenty people will get bowel cancer. The risk of bowel cancer increases as a person gets older.
Bowel cancer claims nearly 5,000 lives annually, making it the most common cancer in Australia for both men and women. If detected early, bowel cancer is one of the most curable cancers.
For many years the Rotary Club of East Gosford has promoted an easy-to-use self-screening kit. The kit detects invisible traces of blood in the stool which if present, may indicate the presence of a bowel cancer, or a polyp (often a precursor to bowel cancer). Early detection can often lead to a person’s complete recovery.
The BowelCare campaign is conducted annually in March. Bowelscan kits are on sale at participating pharmacies for four weeks. Persons obtaining a kit are given two extra weeks after sales end to return completed kits for pathology testing.
All Rotary BowelCare kits are tested by an accredited pathologist and all results are advised by our Bowelscan Medical Coordinator. In the case of a negative result only the participant is advised. However, if the test is positive both the person and their nominated doctor are advised.
People with blood relatives with bowel cancer, or people with blood in their stool, pain in the lower abdomen or irregular bowel habits should consult their doctor.
Be kind to yourself, look after your health – Contact us for more information.
Object of BowelCare
- Develop a Community awareness of the nature of bowel cancer
- Earlier detection of potential or actual bowel cancer.
Cancer of the Large Bowel
Australia has the world’s highest incidence of bowel cancer – 1 in 21 (for both men and women). Age is an important factor. The risk begins at age 40, doubling every 5 years until age 60 and even more rapidly as the person gets older.
Statistics show 90% of bowel cancers can be successfully cured if detected at an early stage.
Bowel cancers begin as polyps. Polyps are growths occurring in the lining of the bowel. Not all polyps are cancerous. They may or may not bleed and cause diarrhoea and pain. Because polyps can develop into cancer, early diagnosis and removal of all polyps is important.
The risk of bowel cancer increases 3 to 4 times the average if:
- One or more of your blood relatives (parent, siblings or child) have had bowel cancer or polyps
- You’ve previously had bowel cancer or polyps
- You’ve had extensive inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis)
- You have a history of bleeding with or in the stool
- You have experienced a recent change in bowel habit or pain in lower abdomen
- Persons in any of the above categories should consult their doctor for follow up investigation.
Note: Many bowel cancers also occur in people without high risk factors.
Annual Testing – It is strongly recommended for ALL men and women over the age of 40 to have a Bowelscan test EVERY YEAR. If a person has a blood relative with bowel cancer or polyps, or the person has a bowel problem, or is in doubt – they should consult their doctor.
Occult Blood Test Kit (Hemoccult II) – Kits are easy to use, come with instructions, and are completed in the privacy of one’s home. The pathology card attached to the kit must be completed and signed by the person doing the test – if the pathology card is detached from the test kit the test becomes invalid.
Return Kit for Pathology – All participating pharmacies are supplied with a Bowelscan collection bin for the duration of the program. Completed kits are returned in their ‘Bowelscan Kit’ silver-lined envelopes to a pharmacy pathology bin. Ensure that the participant (not the pharmacy staff) puts their kit in the pathology bin.
How does Bowelscan Work – Bowelscan is simply a chemical test for screening invisible (occult) blood in the stool, which if present may indicate a bowel cancer or polyp. However, there may be bleeding for other reasons, not related to a cancer. There may be a cancer present which is not bleeding, however 90% of cancers and polyps do bleed. In the early stages, bowel cancers and polyps do bleed intermittently.
Cost of Kit and Pathology $10 (includes notification of all results).
An appointed accredited pathologist tests all kits from our program and sends all results to our Medical Coordinator, who in turn advises each participant whether they were positive or negative. In the instance of persons with a positive test, our Medical Coordinator will also advise their nominated doctor. Any further investigation or remedial treatment is managed by the participant’s own doctor. Confidentiality is maintained at all times. No results are given over the phone.
Note: A positive test does not conclusively indicate a polyp or cancer, as there are many other reasons why a test can be positive.
All positive tests should be investigated.