Cancer Council and Federal Gov’t push for the bowel screening test

Professor Tanya Buchanan, Chief Executive Officer at Cancer Council

Australia’s bathroom habits are in the spotlight today as Cancer Council and the Australian Government encourage all Australians aged 50-74 to Get2it and participate in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) when they receive their free test kit in the mail. 

How are Aussies using their bathroom breaks?

New research data from YouGov shows that people aged 50 and over, spend around 35 minutes a day in the bathroom, totalling 212 hours a year. Cancer Council suggests that this is more than enough time for eligible Australians do the test and potentially save their lives. Screening rates for Australia’s second biggest cancer killer currently sit at just 43.5%.

One-fifth (21%) of Aussies say that the time they spend in the bathroom is about maintaining good health, meaning that whilst they have the best intentions, they are simply not getting to bowel screening. Test kits are sent to 50-74 year old Aussies every two years.

Cancer Council CEO, Professor Tanya Buchanan, said: “In the 424 hours, or 18 days, each Aussie spends in the bathroom every two years, thousands of life-saving samples could be taken. Countless lives can be saved if eligible Aussies, especially those in their 50s swapped out time spent scrolling on their phones while on the loo, with bowel screening time.” 

A quarter (25%) of eligible Aussies use their phones on the toilet. The top reasons include scrolling social media (45%), reading the news (39%), texting (23%) and gaming (23%). 

Why is bowl screening vital for middle-aged Aussies?

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Hon Mark Butler MP, said: “We are asking Aussies aged 50 and over to make time and do their free bowel test when it arrives in the mail. If we can get 60% of eligible Aussies screening and keep it that way, we can save 84,000 lives by 2040.”

“Screen time is a modern life trend and we want screening time to come just as naturally, so use your next bathroom stop to complete the test, or add a reminder to your calendar.”

Research shows that placing the bowel screening test kit in the bathroom straight away, and setting reminders, could increase screening rates. People can set reminders here. NRL stars and commentator, Petero Civoniceva, Geoff Toovey and Andrew Voss have been enlisted to help spread the word on the value of bowel screening, particularly to men aged 50-59.  

The campaign will see Civoniceva, Toovey and Voss star in an instructional video, which will have them commentating a bowel screening test, much like they would a footy match.

NRL Commentator Andrew Voss said bowel cancer prevention and awareness is close to his and his family’s heart. “Bowel cancer awareness is a cause that really hits home for me because I’ve seen first-hand how devastating bowel cancer can be after my grandmother was diagnosed with bowel cancer late in the piece before sadly passing away,” said Voss. 

“Early diagnosis could save your life, so I’m honoured to be able to partner with Cancer Council and the Australian Government to help Aussies prioritise their health, Get2It and do a bowel screening test,” Voss added. The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program delivers screening kits to the homes of eligible Australians aged 50-74 every two years. The test is free, quick, and hygienic and can be completed at home and returned in the post.

For more information, visit the website.