Cairns Private Hospital
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‘Get off your bum’ for bowel cancer awareness month

Jun 01, 2020

A leading Cairns gastroenterologist is urging locals to “get off their bum” and have a bowel cancer test this June, for Bowel Cancer Awareness Month.

Dr Bernard Chin, who practises at both Cairns Private Hospital and Cairns Day Surgery, says bowel cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in Australia but, if it is picked up early, survival rates can be higher than 95%.

“80 Australians per week die from bowel cancer, but it is one of only a few cancers which are almost entirely preventable if picked up early,” Dr Chin said.

“Remember that bowel cancer is very common and preventable so don’t die of embarrassment, get off your bum and do your bowel cancer test!” he said.

Dr Chin said the COVID-19 pandemic had been very disruptive to all cancer surveillance programs, with some experts predicting the number of preventable cancer deaths over the next five years will exceed the projected deaths from COVID-19.

“This is a sobering statistic. The public need to attend to their cancer screening and surveillance during this disruptive period, which is expected to last many months to come, if not years.”

Ramsay Health Care, which operates Cairns Private Hospital, Cairns Day Surgery and The Cairns Clinic, has recently upgraded the group’s endoscopy equipment, providing safer procedures for patients and better imaging technology for specialists.

“Endoscopy is a technology that allows doctors to peer into the insides of hollow organs such as the stomach and intestines without making incisions in the skin or muscles.

“Clearer vision means our ability to pick up subtle but dangerous pathology will be enhanced - for instance, picking up precancerous polyps in the large bowel means effectively preventing bowel cancer,” Dr Chin said.

“The latest endoscopy video equipment allows the doctor to make the correct diagnosis and potentially treat the pathology at the same time, avoiding invasive surgery,” he said.

To book your next bowel cancer screen, contact your local GP for a referral.