We have relaunched our Regional Champions campaign in regional WA, following survey results suggesting one third of respondents evaluated in the previous campaign reported that COVID-19 was a barrier to visiting their GP, clinic nurse or Aboriginal health worker if they had a cancer symptom.
Our Cancer Prevention and Research Director, Melissa Ledger, said the Regional Champions campaign calls for people in regional WA to be aware of some of the lesser-known symptoms of cancer and seek medical advice earlier.
"Cancer Council WA surveyed more than 1000 regional West Australians over the age of 40 following the launch of the Regional Champions campaign earlier this year," Ms Ledger said.
"With more than a third of the respondents indicating COVID-19 was a barrier to visiting their GP, clinic nurse or Aboriginal health worker if they had a cancer symptom, the campaign has now been relaunched.
"In addition to COVID-19 presenting a challenge, previous research in WA shows regional people present at the GP at a later stage because they are less aware of cancer symptoms, more optimistic, more laid back, less willing to seek help and sometimes make excuses for not seeking help, therefore resulting in later stage cancer diagnoses.
"While the Find Cancer Early messages are getting through, there is still a long way to go.
"Research tells us that people living in regional Australia have lower rates of survival than those living in metropolitan areas, for all cancers combined."
Ms Ledger said the campaign gives light to the lesser-known symptoms of common cancers which include problems peeing, runny poo, and shortness of breath.
"The earlier cancer is found, the greater the chance of successful treatment, so whether it turns out to be something needing follow up or nothing to worry about, you'll be glad you found out early," she said.
"Putting off seeing your doctor, clinic nurse or Aboriginal health worker could cost you a good outcome."
62-year-old Derek Chapman from Donnybrook is one of six regional champions featured in the campaign.
"I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018 after having problems peeing," Mr Chapman said.
"My advice for anyone experiencing an unusual symptom would be to make time to get it checked out.
"When you're out here you can't muck around. Stop making excuses for symptoms."
The relaunch of the campaign began on Sunday 3 October and will appear on regional and Aboriginal stations across WA including GWN, WIN, WDTV, SBS, ICTV, and Goolarri.
The campaign, which will also include coverage on regional (Triple M) and Aboriginal radio stations, regional newspapers, Facebook and YouTube.
For more information
- We recommend seeing a doctor, clinic nurse or Aboriginal health worker if you experience any of the below symptoms:
- Blood in your poo, blood in your pee or you've coughed up blood, even just on one occasion.
- If for more than four weeks you've noticed problems peeing, changes to your bowel habits, unexplained weight loss, a persistent cough, shortness of breath, a new or changed spot on your skin or an unusual pain, lump or swelling anywhere in your body.
- It's important to remember bowel cancer screening kits and mammograms are designed for people who aren't experiencing symptoms. The organisation warns waiting to participate in a cancer screening program if you have symptoms could delay your diagnosis and risk a worse outcome.
- For more information on Find Cancer Early visit findcancerearly.com.au or call our cancer nurses on 13 11 20.