Pharmacies participating in Rotary’s annual bowel cancer screening awareness initiative this year will receive the same Australian-developed tests nationally.
The Clinical Genomics faecal immunochemical test will be included in the Rotary BowelCare and Bowelscan programs in all Australian states in 2016. The campaign runs from April to May for Bowelcare and in May for Bowelscan.
“The Rotary BowelCare/BowelScan program will be the second largest bowel scanning program in Australia, and in this year’s campaign one key thing that’s particularly helpful for both patients and pharmacists is that it’s the same test all the way throughout the country,” says Warren Bingham, Clinical Genomics VP Asia Pacific.
“Basically, we know that statistically once you hit the age of 50 your average risk increases significantly. I think publicity over the years has promoted awareness, but I don’t know if that has resulted in increased screening across the board,” says Bingham.
He says pharmacists can help promote bowel cancer screening to capture more individuals, which may be more important than encouraging people to test more often.
“The success of the Rotary 2015 program was very very good; we had something like over 70% of the kits that were sold actually result in a test being done,” he says. “That’s a very nice statistic.
“The objective is for people to be aware and the role of pharmacy is to ask, ‘when did you last test?’
“Pharmacies do play a pivotal role in this.”
He paid tribute to the retired GPs, pharmacists and other volunteers who have gone out of their way to distribute kits to pharmacy, as their efforts last year showed “in flying colours”.
Bingham says that Australians still aren’t keen to talk about the subject, but a test that’s less unpleasant to use is a big plus.
“Colorectal cancer is the number-two killer in Australia, so it’s important for patients to get screened, but the problem is that nobody really wants to ask about or handle their poo,” he told the AJP.
“So making a test that’s patient friendly is particularly important – this test doesn’t require you to handle it, you just take a water sample from the toilet close to the stool.”
More than 120,000 uniquely Rotary-branded tests manufactured by Clinical Genomics are set to be distributed to select participating pharmacies as part of the Rotary Bowelscan and BowelCare programs.