The Rotary Club of Bellingen regrets to announce that 32 years after the inception of its Bowelscan program, 2017 will be the last year of operation. This is because the Federal Government has now followed Rotary’s lead by introducing its own screening program for bowel cancer. Pharmacies are also selling test kits.
Long term Rotary Bowelscan Co-odinator, Ken Lloyd, said that it is necessary to dispel a myth that the Rotary kits are in some way “cheaper”. It is true that they cost less at $15, which is because Rotarians give their services free, but the kits are the same as those available elsewhere.
The Rotary program will run as usual in the first week of May. Rotarians will sell kits at $15 each from Monday 1st May to Saturday 6th May as follows:
Bellingen: Outside Amcal Pharmacy, mornings 9.30 to 12.30. Saturday 6th May: 9 AM to 12 Noon.
Urunga: Outside Amcal Pharmacy, mornings 9.30 to 12.30. Saturday 6th May: 9 AM to 12 Noon.
At other times during this week, the pharmacies have generously agreed to sell kits on behalf of Rotary. The Rotary Club of Bellingen is indebted to the local pharmacies, without whose co-operation this life saving program could not operate.
The Rotary Bowelscan program will operate with the new test kits that have been used successfully in the last few years. These are more user friendly, more sophisticated, more sensitive and no longer require any dietary restrictions. Further, the kits are now returned by post (included in the $15) and not to the pharmacy as in previous years.
The risk of bowel cancer increases progressively each year after age 40. By the age of 75, 1 in 20 men, and 1 in 24 women will develop bowel cancer; it is the most common cancer affecting Australians. Fortunately, 90% of cases can be cured if detected early.
Rotary’s program over the years in District 9650, which encompasses a large area of the Mid North Coast and inland, has seen 650 people detected with bowel cancer and a further 3,000 with polyps on the bowel, potentially cancerous. While the Federal Government program is still not fully rolled out Rotary suggests that people aged over 40 should take advantage of this final opportunity. People over 74 are not covered by the government. Early detection is vital.