November 17, 2023
A Goomeri woman is urging South Burnett residents to “Get2it” when it comes to bowel cancer screening after her own brush earlier this year.
Ree Birgan, 65, said she had been a regular user of the free bowel screening kits after she received her first one from the Federal Government when she turned 50.
“I probably did the first two, but then I let life get in the way and I stopped doing them,” she said.
However, an appointment with her GP sparked her back into action.
“He said to me, ‘Have you done your bowel screening test?’,” Ree said.
“He said, ‘I think you should. I have just done mine and it’s come back positive’.”
She resolved that when the next one arrived, she would do it.
“And I did, and it was fine, but then the next one I did early this year came back with a positive result.”
Ree said she had no symptoms that anything was wrong “nothing at all”.
She received her results a short time after sending her kit back.
“They said I should see my GP so I went and he referred me for a colonoscopy,” Ree said.
The colonoscopy located several polyps, which were immediately removed.
One of these was close to becoming cancerous.
“They definitely got it early,” she said.
“The specialist said I would be on a watch list now for early detection.
“It was a pretty big wake-up call and it’s made me change my diet and look at a healthy lifestyle.”
She said doing the bowel-screening test was “easy as”.
“The instructions are very simple. It’s just a matter of setting aside the time,” she said.
Some people may be put off by a perceived “yuck” factor but Ree said they should not be.
“The equipment that’s given to you (in the kit) makes it very, very simple,” she said.
“People imagine it, but it’s not really ‘yuck’ at all.
“I definitely will be doing the test again!”
A free bowel cancer screening test is sent out by the Federal Government’s National Bowel Cancer Screening Program every two years to six million Australians aged between 50 and 74.
Sadly, data shows participation is low with only four in 10 tests completed and sent back.
This is despite the fact that 90 per cent of cases can be successfully treated if detected early.
Lost or misplaced kits can also be reordered online.
- More information is available at www.cancer.org.au/bowelscreening