Don’t be a bloody idiot, take the free bowel test. It could save your life

bowel test

A few years ago, I would have reacted the same way as 68% of Australians do when they receive the free bowel testing kit in the post.

I would have simply binned it.

Those who follow suit all have their reasons, I’m sure. Mine? A mixture of pig-ignorance and a totally illogical belief that these kind of diseases happen to someone else.

Then my mum was diagnosed with bowel cancer, and my outlook on taking preventative measures like this simple free test changed overnight.

I did my first one in a matter of minutes when it arrived soon after my 50th, and I’ll be sending off my second now I’ve just turned 54 [they normally arrive every two years but a colonoscopy in the interim negated the need].

Why do we do have to see someone we love go through so much pain and suffering before we are scared into action ourselves?

I’m not a shrink so I’m not even going to try and answer that one, aside to say please don’t be a bloody idiot like me.

Our generation is so much luckier than our parents were when it comes to preventative medicine and procedures that can literally save our lives.

The risk of bowel cancer rises sharply from the age of 50, but if found early enough, nine out of 10 bowel cancers can be successfully treated.

How do I do the test?

The bowel cancer screening test from the Australian Government is easy-to-do and can be completed in the comfort of your own home.

1. Collect samples of your bowel motions (poo)

The test comes with an instruction sheet that explains how to do this. Samples should be collected from different bowel motions (poos), as close together as possible, so either on the same day or within three days of taking the first sample.

2. Send the samples for testing

Once you have collected your samples, put them in the reply paid envelope provided together with your Participant Details Form, and send the envelope in the post.

3. Get the results

The samples are processed and the results are sent to you, and your nominated doctor or health service within two weeks.

For more information on testing and why you need to get on board, click here.

From sport, business, to general news and lifestyle, the co-founder of 50 So What has covered it all in more than 25 years in print, TV and digital media. When he's not working on the site, you can usually find him on a golf course, playing tennis, or on a flight across the ditch to catch-up with family and friends in his native New Zealand.


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