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Bowel cancer - kills more than conversation

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					            Bowel Cancer
            & Digestive
            Research Institute
            Australia


EMBARGOED UNTIL TUESDAY 12 FEBRUARY 2008




               Bowel cancer - kills more than conversation
             ew research finds knowledge of bowel cancer “alarmingly low”
    •   Just 1 in 10 name bowel cancer as a major health concern despite the high number of cases and deaths
                             • Only half of those at risk are considering testing


For many Australians any discussion of Australia’s second deadliest cancer, bowel cancer,
is a guaranteed conversation killer.

Research conducted by ANOP* on the attitudes and behaviours of 45 to 75 year olds
show alarmingly low levels of awareness and understanding about bowel cancer in this at
risk age group, with 44 percent saying they are uninformed.

Only 11 per cent of respondents identified bowel cancer as one of the top three health
issues, despite Australia having one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world.

Most alarming was the finding that only half of respondents said they were likely to
consider testing for bowel cancer in the next few years – with just 30 percent saying they
had had a test in recent years.

Bowel cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related death among men and
women, claiming the lives of 90 people every week yet nearly half of this at risk age group
do not know or are unsure of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer.

According to Dr Cameron Bell, a leading gastroenterologist and board member of Bowel
Cancer and Digestive Research Institute Australia, bowel cancer is the ultimate
conversation stopper.

“One in 21 Australians will get bowel cancer at some point in their life, yet it is a disease
many people do not like to discuss. This is resulting in inaction which is costing lives,” he
said.

“This is a critical health issue which must be addressed – literally thousands of lives could
be saved if we can get over our reluctance to talk about bowel cancer and increase
awareness and screening for this disease.

“Early detection improves the chances of survival, with most people being able to return
to their current quality of life.

“Bowel cancer screening programs are available and proven to save lives. We need to
all talk to our family and friends about bowel cancer, encourage screening and offer
support and the best available bowel cancer treatments so thousands of lives can be
saved,” Dr Bell said.




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             Bowel Cancer
             & Digestive
             Research Institute
             Australia



According to Prof John Zalcberg, Chief Medical Officer and Director, Division of
Haematology and Medical Oncology at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in
Melbourne the challenge is to raise awareness and support for bowel cancer to the level
of cancers such as breast, prostate and skin cancer.

“Over recent years we have seen tremendous improvement in community recognition
and support for many other illnesses – including breast, skin and prostate cancer,” Prof
Zalcberg said.

“It is time for this support to be extended to bowel cancer.

“Bowel cancer is a disease that impacts almost all Australians in some way.

“With greater awareness, screening and treatment support we can make great
improvements in the outcomes for the thousands of Australians with bowel cancer, ” he
said.


                For more information or to organise interviews please contact
              Nerida Thorburn on 0410 414 568 or Julien Wiggins on 0421 228 543

Fact sheet attached.

Dr Cameron Bell is available for interview.

Prof John Zalcberg is available for interview

Scott Gillion, a bowel cancer patient, is available for interview


*Research conducted by ANOP in November 2007 in partnership with Roche Products.




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