New bowel cancer screening campaign needs pharmacy support

bowel cancer screening: open toilet on black background

Pharmacists are being urged to support the latest bowel cancer screening campaign from Bowel Cancer Australia, with Professor Peter Carroll from the University of Sydney describing it as a “huge opportunity” for community pharmacy to improve screening rates.

The new campaign – Don’t wait until it’s too late – encourages Australians over 50 years of age to do a bowel screening test now rather than wait, as bowel cancer can develop without any warning signs.

New data released by Bowel Cancer Australia states that 78% of respondents believe people don’t have a bowel cancer test because it’s messy and embarrassing.

The data also showed people check less for bowel cancer than other cancers. In the last few years only 43% of male respondents had screened for bowel cancer despite 54% screening for prostate cancer.

Only 34% of females had tested for bowel cancer, although 46% had checked for cervical cancer and 70% for breast cancer.

Pharmacy academic Professor Peter Carroll has presented at various pharmacy conferences about the role of pharmacists in bowel cancer screening and is calling for community pharmacists to support the initiative.

“Community pharmacists can play a key role in bowel cancer prevention by educating their customers about the disease and providing an accessible location for people to get screening kits,” says Prof Carroll.

“We need to address this mindset that bowel cancer screening is something people can continue to put off for another time.

“We want customers aged over 50 who have not been tested to go in to their pharmacy for a test now.

“Pharmacies will need be prepared and stock up on kits,” said Professor Carroll.

Bowel Cancer Australia runs annual bowel cancer awareness campaigns throughout the year. The ‘Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late’ campaign (#PreventBowelCancer) runs from January – March 2015. Community pharmacies can stock up on kits by calling  1800 55 65 75 or purchase online.


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