Cancer tests at a discount

Trevor Harding with a BowelScan kit in 2014. 118940_04 Picture: ROB CAREW

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

Now is the time to take a potentially life-saving test for bowel cancer.

The Rotary Club of Dandenong is supplying discounted Bowelscan kits in participating pharmacies during May.

The stool tests can be performed at home, with the results sent back within weeks.

Free kits are supplied by the Federal Government to eligible people between the ages of 50-74 but many more outside this age bracket should do the test, says Rotarian Trevor Harding.

His 39-year-old niece Debbie Greer succumbed to the disease 20 years ago.

“I’ve never received a free kit and I’m 82,” Mr Harding said.

“I’ve always bought my kit every year.”

In the past two years, the program has detected at least six local cases of bowel cancer.

Melbourne’s South East is among the most reluctant areas to take bowel tests. It ranks below the state average for take-up of the free kits.

It’s extraordinary – considering the test is free, conveniently done at home and so effective in detecting what is Australia’s second most deadly cancer.

Bowel cancer claims 100 lives a week. Yet in 90 per cent of early-detection cases, treatment is successful.

Even, pre-cancerous polyps can be discovered by the test and eliminated easily.

Mr Harding has seen first-hand how reluctant fellow Rotarians are to take up the test since he started the discount program in 2004.

“A lot of men don’t do it. They think she’ll be right mate.

“But early detection leads to high survival.”

Kits are available from Terry White Chemists in Dandenong Plaza, Dandenong Central Pharmacy on the corner of Walker and Langhorne streets and Berwick Pharmacy in High Street, Berwick.

Details: Mr Harding on 0428 797 730.

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