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Don't fob it off - a simple test could save your life

Friday 25 February, 2011 by Susanne

CPC's resident bowel screening champion, Susanne, has a reason to be excited this Friday. Friday 25 Feb is an important day for everyone aged 50 plus. Do you know why? It's Fob Test Friday.

No, it's got nothing to do with checking your fob watch - although that could offer a timely reminder to review your health status - nor Family Owned Business, Foreign-Owned Banks or Freight on Board..

Instead, I'm referring to Faecal Occult Blood (Fob) test, which is an early detection screening test for bowel cancer. Fob Test Friday is an awareness day to encourage men and women aged 50 and over to do this easy, non invasive test in the privacy of their own home. It appears people are happy to talk about breasts and prostates, but not so much about bowels, which is a shame because we all have one. However, Coxy, Liz and Melissa are all bowel cancer survivors who are working with Cabrini Health to promote Fob Test Friday and get people talking about  their bowel health.

Did you know Australia has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world, and that bowel cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death here? The good news is  90% of bowel cancers can be cured if detected at an early stage and treated. However, the problem is only 40% of bowel cancers are being detected early, so more people need to know about the Fob Test and to actually complete it, not hide it in a drawer and forget it's there.

Fob Tests can be purchased through CCV online or by calling 13 11 20 (subsidised prices of $30 or $22 for pension and health card holders) or by downloading an order form . You can even watch a short cartoon demonstration of how to complete the test - be assured there's nothing offensive or distasteful. There's also a brief video you can watch to hear Jan and Graeme, who are bowel cancer survivors telling their stories of how they believe the test saved their lives, by finding cancer when they had no symptoms or any inkling a cancerous polyp lurked below. These people are actually beginning to talk about bowels in public, and in particular, the importance of screening; so is it a topic you might discuss today (but possibly not over dinner)?

Don't fob off talking about bowel cancer any longer. If you have a loved one aged 50 and older, encourage them to do a Fob Test - it's a simple test that could save their life.

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