We have launched a new mass media campaign through our Find Cancer Early program to highlight some of the lesser known symptoms of cancer to motivate regional West Australians to seek medical advice earlier.
Our CEO, Ashley Reid, said the new campaign, Regional Champions, was directed and produced in Bunbury and includes personal testimonies of regional cancer patients, cancer survivors, and those who have lost loved ones to cancer.
"I would like to thank our brave regional champions from all across regional Western Australia who have generously shared their stories with us for this campaign, " Mr Reid said.
"Published Australian research shows that people living in regional Australia are 20-30 per cent more likely to die within five years of a cancer diagnosis than people living in metropolitan areas.
"Previous research in Western Australia 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."
Mr Reid said the new campaign gives light to the lesser known symptoms of common cancers including 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," he said.
"Putting off seeing your doctor, clinic nurse or Aboriginal health worker could be costly."
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 campaign begins on Sunday 31 January and will appear on regional and Aboriginal stations across WA including GWN, WIN, WDTV, ICTV, and Goolarri. The campaign also includes regional (Triple M) and Aboriginal radio stations, regional newspapers, Facebook and YouTube.
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, you are short of breath 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.