After losing her dad to bowel cancer in 2008, Lara Bingle has committed herself to helping raise awareness about the disease, which kills 77 Australians every week. June marks Bowel Cancer Awareness month, so we sat down with Lara to talk about early detection, screening and what her personal experience with the disease has taught her. Keep reading.
This year’s Bowel Cancer Awareness Month campaign is skewed at a younger audience — can you tell us a bit about it?
"Although bowel cancer predominantly affects people over 50, young people are not immune. So it's really important to educate a wider audience. Bowel cancer not only affects the person that is sick, but also the people that surround them. With the campaign, you can essentially team up with me or another familiar face and send a birthday greeting to anyone special in your life who’s aged 50 and over. It has a life-saving wish attached to it and it’s all about getting more people to screen for bowel cancer. Just jump online and send the e-card from jointhebowelmovement.org."
What’s the most important thing you've learnt from your personal story with bowel cancer?
"I’ve learnt that bowel cancer is preventable and very treatable, if caught early. I’ve learnt that screening and acting on symptoms may have saved my dad’s life. This is our second biggest cancer killer and it affects 14,000 families every year but so many people know so little about it. I’m doing what I can to try and change that and I hope others will too. Our parents do so much for us, so think about asking them to do one more small thing for you, if they won’t do it for themselves — a simple, painless fob [faecal occult blood] test."
Is there an easy way to get checked?
"If your dad’s anything like mine was, and doesn’t regularly go to the doctor, the easiest thing is to grab a Bowel Screen Australia test kit from a pharmacy. It’s simple and painless, with a total cost of less than $40. If they’re 50, 55, 60 or 65, they’ll get a free kit in the mail from the Government. Anyone who has symptoms of bowel cancer needs to see a doctor immediately."
What’s the most positive story to have come out of your time as ambassador for Bowel Cancer Australia?
"When I started working with Bowel Cancer Australia and talking about losing my Dad, it had a very strong response from the community because people realised that it can happen to anyone. Having a personal connection to this cancer got people talking about it and that was a big positive because education, awareness and early detection is very important."
For more information, visit www.jointhebowelmovement.org
Source: PopSugar Australia