Dawesville resident, Brian Pearcey, is using his shock rectal cancer diagnosis to inform others about the importance of taking part in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program's free bowel screening test.
Mr Pearcey, who showed no symptoms, is now advocating on the importance of doing the kit after being diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer last year.
"I used the bowel cancer home test kit last year in October," Mr Pearcey said.
"Shortly after, I received the results and was diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer.
"Since then, I've undergone chemo and radiation. I have surgery booked in towards the end of July, and will need more treatment after that too.
"The scariest part is I had absolutely no idea. I didn't experience any of the symptoms associated with bowel cancer. I was fit and healthy and it wasn't until I took the test that the cancer was detected.
"I can't stress how critical it is for people to do the test.
"Don't throw it away or let it sit somewhere in your house collecting dust. For your own health, just do it. It's so easy and it could save your life."
Cancer Council WA Bowel Cancer Screening Coordinator Catalina Lizama said Brian's story is an important reminder to the community to take the test when it arrives at your home.
"Brian's story should be a wake-up call to everyone," said Ms Lizama.
"Just as Brian discovered, bowel cancer often develops without symptoms, yet a staggering six out of 10 home test kits are never returned.
"Take this as your reminder to do the test. Get it out of your drawer or order another one by calling the Program on 1800 118 868 if you've thrown it away.
"Participating in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program can help find bowel cancer in its earliest stages.
"The earlier it's found, the greater the chance of successful treatment."
Brian's advocacy for the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program led Cancer Council WA Bowel Cancer Screening Coordinator Catalina Lizama to hold a Bowel Cancer Awareness presentation for all residents at the lifestyle resort where Brian lives.
If you or someone you know has been affected by bowel cancer and would like to arrange a free Cancer Council WA Bowel Screening Awareness presentation, please contact Catalina Lizama - Catalina.Lizama@cancerwa.asn.au or (08) 9212 4360.
Common symptoms of bowel cancer:
- Blood in your poo once or more
- A change in your normal bowel habit, such as looser poo, pooing more often, or constipation for more than 4 weeks
- Abdominal pain, bloating, or cramping
- Symptoms of anaemia, such as tiredness or weakness
It is important to know these symptoms, but it is equally important to know bowel cancer often develops without symptoms.
The National Bowel Cancer Screening Test Kit is sent to all eligible Australians every 2 years from the age of 50 - 74 years.
For more information about bowel cancer.