Australians aged 50-74 are being urged to Get2it by using their free bowel cancer test, and our bathroom habits reveal we should roll with it.
YouGov data shows that people aged 50 and above spend about 35 minutes per day or 212 hours per year in the bathroom. According to the Cancer Council, this is plenty of time for Australians to do the test, yet screening rates for Australia’s second biggest cancer killer sit at just 43.5%.
While 21% of Australians say that maintaining good health is the goal behind their bathroom time, they aren’t doing the bowel screening test that could potentially save their lives. As part of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP), free test kits are mailed to 50-74-year-old Australians every two years.
Cancer Council CEO Professor Tanya Buchanan said Australians could better use their bathroom breaks by participating in bowel cancer screening.
“In the 424 hours, or 18 days, each Australian spends in the bathroom every two years, thousands of potentially life-saving samples could be taken,” Professor Buchanan said.
“Countless lives can be saved if eligible Australians, especially those in their 50s, swapped out time spent scrolling on their phones while on the loo, with bowel screening time.”
A quarter of eligible Australians use their mobile phones on the toilet, usually to scroll through social media (45%), read the news (39%), text (23%) and game (23%).
Minister for Health and Aged Care, The Hon Mark Butler MP, said swapping our screens for bowel cancer screening tests could save thousands of lives.
“We are asking Australians aged 50 and over to make time to look after their health by doing their free bowel test when it arrives in the mail. If we can get 60% of eligible Australians screening and keep it that way, we can save 84,000 lives by 2040,” said Mr Butler.
“Screen time is a feature of modern life and we want screening time to come just as naturally, so why not use your next bathroom stop to complete the test, or add a reminder to your calendar.”
Australians can put their best foot forward by immediately placing the test kit in the bathroom and setting reminders on their phones, as research shows this could increase screening rates.
Alongside NRL commentator Andrew Voss, former NRL and Origin stars Petero Civoniceva, and Geoff Toovey have teamed up against bowel cancer.
Leading up to the 2022 State of Origin decider, Civoniceva, Toovey and Voss have replicated a footy match with an instructional video in which they commentated on a bowel screening test.
NRL Commentator Andrew Voss said he understands the importance of bowel cancer screening, having had family experience with the disease.
“Bowel cancer awareness is a cause that really hits home for me because I’ve seen first-hand how devastating bowel cancer can be after my grandmother was diagnosed with bowel cancer late in the piece before sadly passing away,” said Voss.
“Early diagnosis could save your life, so I’m honoured to be able to partner with Cancer Council and the Australian Government to help Aussies prioritise their health, Get2It and do a bowel screening test.”
Bowel cancer screening tests are quick and hygienic and can be done at home and sent back in the post. Visit the Cancer Council’s Bowel Screening website for more information.