ONLY 40 per cent of invited Tamworth residents took part in potentially life-saving bowel cancer screening program.
The region’s primary health network has urged people to get over the “taboo on poo” in light of low figures registered in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.
“Up to 90 per cent of bowel cancers can be successfully treated if found early but sadly around 60 per cent of bowel cancers detected across our region are not found early,” Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health Network boss Richard Nankervis said.
In the Tamworth region, only 40.1 per cent of the 8680 residents invited to be screened took the test.
According to the Australia Health Policy Collaboration maps, residents in the Tamworth Regional Council area die at a rate of 10.7 per 100,000 from bowel cancer.
People in the neighbouring Gunnedah (19.6) and Liverpool Plains (20.5) shires die at almost double the rate.
Mr Nankervis said taking part in the screening program could lower the rate of disease in the retgion.
“Unfortunately across our region the rate of participation in the screening program is too low,” he said.
“We have many communities with screening rates in the low 30 per cent range and the very best are only just over 50 per cent”.
Reluctance in the community to talk about poo and bowels could be stopping people from taking a life-saving test, Mr Nankervis suggested.
“We know many people are reluctant to have a conversation around bowels,” he said.
“Too many of these kits remained unopened and ignored but in the words of comedian Dave O’Neill ‘it’s time to stop the taboo on poo’.”
The Program mails eligible 50 to 74 year olds bowel screening kits to complete at home.
From next year all eligible people aged 50 to74 years will be invited to screen every two years.
Eligibility for receiving the National Bowel Cancer screening kit can be checked through the online eligibility calculator.
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