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Our purpose

Cancer Council Western Australia aims to work with our community to reduce the incidence and impact of cancer. In line with this, Members of Parliament (MPs) are invited to use our Bowel Cancer Screening Toolkit
to raise awareness of bowel cancer and the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) within their electorate. This toolkit includes education opportunities, reminder notices and other prompt materials to be used in a range of contexts.

Background

Bowel cancer is cancer in any part of the large intestine, which usually develops over a number of years. Australia has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world. It is estimated that more than 15,000 Australians are diagnosed each year and around one in 19 Australians are diagnosed with bowel cancer in their lifetime.

The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) sends free home test kits to Australians aged 50-74, every two years. Australians are eligible if they have a mailing address associated with a Medicare or DVA card (although conditional migrants and temporary residents are ineligible). The kit looks for microscopic amounts of blood in poo, it’s done at home, and only takes a few minutes. Two samples need to be taken – each from a different poo, with the first sample stored in a secure container in the fridge until the second is done Both are then securely sent in the mail to a laboratory for review. Participants are contacted with the results, including whether they need any follow-up tests. Unfortunately, current participation in WA is just 45.9 per cent. Research has found that we could prevent 84,000 bowel cancer deaths by 2040 if we could reach and maintain participation at 60 per cent.

The NBCSP is important because bowel cancer often develops with no symptoms. The kits are designed to
detect bowel cancer in its very early stages, and fortunately, more than 90 per cent of bowel cancers can be treated when detected early.

Benefits

Collaboration between Cancer Council WA and MPs:

  • Encourages MPs to engage with their constituents and utilise their position and influence to encourage positive health choices, including participating in the NBCSP.
  • Offers opportunities for MPs to build healthier communities through education and awareness of both risk factors for bowel cancer and the free screening program.

How we can work together

The below table presents opportunities that can be utilised by MPs with support from Cancer Council WA.

Resource Format Cancer Council WA Involvement Target Group Example
Social media tiles Online We have provided social media tiles and content promoting participation in the NBCSP social media
followers
MPs can provide information about the NBCSP using Cancer Council WA generated social media tiles via their social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn
Email signature banner Online We have provided a NBCSP eSignature banner Internal and
external
stakeholders
MPs can include an eSignature banner at the bottom of their email signature which promotes participation in the NBCSP as well as acts as a reminder to do the kit
Birthday slips Online We have provided bowel cancer screening reminder birthday slips that can be printed for mailing Individual constituents turning 50 years old MPs can send out birthday slips when a constituent turns 50 to act as a reminder that they are now eligible for the NBCSP and encourage participation
Bowel cancer brochure Online We have provided an online version of the bowel cancer brochure All stakeholders and constituents When appropriate, MPs can disseminate brochures to stakeholders and constituents to increase knowledge about bowel cancer and the NBCSP
Newsletter article Online We can provide online article content and imagery suitable for use in newsletters, bulletins, and other communications All stakeholders and constituents MPs can utilise this content in communications to improve bowel cancer education and promotion of the NBCSP

For more information, please email bowel@cancerwa.asn.au