Here in the United States, we know all about the importance of getting screened for colon cancer thanks to national programs and initiatives that endorse awareness, such as Stop Colon Cancer Now. But down under in Australia, where colon cancer is referred to as bowel cancer, there has yet to be a full colon cancer screening program implemented, and that leaves many Australians unaware of the fatal affects of the disease.
Ignorance Isn't Bliss
Colon cancer is the second deadliest form of cancer in Australia, but only 25 percent of Australians are aware of that fact, which means screening rates in the country are alarmingly low. To add to that, one in five cases of colon cancer in Australia are diagnosed at stage four – the most advanced and hard-to-treat stage.
Cancer Council Australia predicts that the incidence of colon cancer in Australia will increase by 50 percent in the next decade to more than 21,000 cases per year if something doesn’t change, spurring the need for a full-fledged colon cancer screening program. Australia’s current bowel cancer screening program faces an uncertain future due to limited budgeting, but according to Anita Tang, Chair of Cancer Council Australia's Bowel Cancer Screening Committee, the benefits of the program far outweigh the financial risks.
"If the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program were fully funded and promoted, we would expect public awareness about the impact of bowel cancer to be much higher," she said, as reported by Medical News Today. "If the Australian government does not announce a plan for the program's implementation in the 2011-12 budget, people affected by bowel cancer over coming years will be entitled to ask why they were denied the benefits of population screening."