Northam Community Men's Shed shares simple message for Men's Health Week

Peter Cox, Don Lee, Kevin Holland and Cliff Simpson.
Peter Cox, Don Lee, Kevin Holland and Cliff Simpson.

Northam Community Men's Shed hosted a bowel cancer screening event as a part of Men's Health Week 2019, to encourage more men to complete the free life-saving test and talk about bowel cancer, as figures reveal only four in 10 eligible Australians are participating in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.

Northam Community Men's Shed president Rob Fraser said the event provided a great opportunity for men to talk about bowel cancer and the free screening test sent in the mail.

"Bowel cancer is Western Australia's second most common cause of cancer death for men, the first being lung cancer," he said.

"Around one-in-12 Australians will develop bowel cancer in their lifetime.

"When you receive the free test in the mail, don't put it in the cupboard and forget about it - delaying can easily become ignoring, forgetting and ultimately not doing."

The bowel cancer screening test detects blood in poo which can be a sign of pre-cancerous lesions and cancers in the early stages, and often these don't have any symptoms.

More than 90 per cent of bowel cancer cases can be successfully treated if caught in the early stages.

Cancer Council WA Wheatbelt regional education officer Melissa Pickering said said there are a number of steps people can take to lower their risk of bowel cancer.

"Move your body, stop smoking, avoid alcohol, eat for health, see your doctor if you have any symptoms or have a family history of bowel cancer, bowel diseases or genetic disorders," she said.

She said the Bowel Cancer Screening Program is for well people who don't have symptoms.

Symptoms of bowel cancer can include blood in your poo, a change of bowel habits that lasts more than three weeks, abdominal pain and bloating, loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss, tiredness, weakness or breathlessness.

If you have any of these you should see your doctor, clinic nurse or Aboriginal health worker straight away.

To find out more about the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program go to www.cancerscreening.gov.au or call 1800 118 868 for more information.

If you would like to access Cancer Council WA services and support please call 13 11 20