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Politicians Get Behind Bowel Screening - and how you can help prevent bowel cancer

Tuesday 13 March, 2012 by Melissa

Today is an exciting day for all Cancer Council's across Australia. That's because the three Federal Independent MPs, Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott and Andrew Wilkie have all spoken about their support for Cancer Council's pre-budget submission to the Federal 2012-13 budget.

As we've previously blogged:

Cancer Council's budget proposal aims to expand the current program which ensures men and women aged 50, 55 and 65 receive a free screening test (a Faecal Occult Blood Test - FOBT) to check for the early signs of bowel cancer.

Cancer Council has asked the government for the money to fund a program so every Australian 50 and older receives a free FOBT every two years.

Having a fully funded, national program makes perfect economic sense to us here at Cancer Council - especially since bowel cancer is Australia's second biggest cancer killer.

The national screening program only offers free FOBTs to people aged 50, 55 and 65 - it's not enough to tackle the huge financial burden on the health system bowel cancer creates.

FOBTs are designed to detect the early signs of bowel cancer and as avid readers of this blog will know, early bowel cancer can have no symptoms.

So, if a person who has no symptoms does an FOBT and pre-cancerous polyps are found - the only cost to the patient/tax payer/government may simply be a colonoscopy.

If it's caught at a later stage and the polyps have become bowel cancer - the treatment may require a colonoscopy plus surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and medication - all very expensive stuff.

Not to mention the personal costs - death being the ultimate one.

As part of the event today, Cancer Council also released an advertisement and launched the new-look http://www.getbehindbowelscreening.com.au/ website as part of the new Get Behind Bowel Screening campaign.

We're asking everyone - members of the community and community and medical groups and organisations to lend their support.

Leave a message, share your bowel cancer-related story, leave a tribute to someone you've lost to bowel cancer - and there are a lot of you out there because bowel cancer kills more than 4000 Australian men and women every year.

We also need you to, most importantly, send a letter to your local Federal MP to tell them to talk to the Government about funding the NBCSP for all Australians 50 and older every two years.

The more support we have, the easier it will be to convince the Government how important this screening program is. 

Even if you've sent a letter before, send another one. Tweet or Facebook your local Federal MP (which you can also do from our new website) and let them know free bowel cancer screening should be available.

Tell your friends and family to help out as well.

C'mon Cut Your Cancer Risk readers Get Behind Bowel Screening - screening saves lives!

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