HOW many times have we heard the saying ‘if you don’t look after yourself first, you are no good to anyone else around you’?
But are we actually doing it?
So many of us are devoted to our family, children, people we care for – and have put ourselves at the bottom of the list.
Luckily, in Australia there are free cancer screening services that are saving lives every single day.
These programs are in place to offer us early detection if there is something going wrong that we can’t see or feel. If only our bodies were see-through – we would know alot more much sooner.
Sometimes we also feel things within our body but we tend to ‘get used to it’ and adapt, to the point where our symptoms are just our new normal.
A friend of mine recently turned 50 and received her bowel cancer screening kit in the mail.
She completed the test at home, as a birthday promise to herself.
Unfortunately, bowel cancer was detected in the early stages but she has had surgery, and is now undergoing follow up treatment with a high chance of a full recovery.
She is a typical girl next door, a hard-working mum, devoted to others, who decided NOT to put the test in the drawer.
She made the time, pushed through the thought of the test process being ‘a little gross’ – and she is now so grateful for that choice.
Bowel cancer screening is available for people 50-74 years of age, every two years.
Breast cancer screening is available for people 50-74 years of age, every two years, although you can have a free breast screen at 40 years old and the process is quick, efficient and free.
In this 40 year age group, your breast tissue is likely to be more dense than that of more mature breast tissue, meaning breast cancer is more difficult to detect.
Because breast cancer rates are lower in this age range and testing is less effective, if you are aged 40-49 you are not sent invitations to participate in screening.
A mammogram can be arranged through Breast Screen Victoria by calling 13 20 50.
Cervical Screening is also available for free for women and people with a cervix aged 25-74 years of age that have ever been sexually active.
This screening test replaces the PAP test and there is an option to collect a sample yourself, with the support of a healthcare professional.
If you have been holding off for personal reasons the self-collection may be a better option for you. We have all been through such a strange time the past few years.
We were stripped back to see what really matters.
For me, it’s human connection, quality time, shining a light on our work life balance or lack thereof, and embark- ing on adventures.
Please put yourself first by participating in these free screening programs so you can be the healthiest version of yourself and live your life to the fullest.
If you have a family history of bowel cancer, you may need some earlier and different screening.
Talk to your GP about arranging a colonoscopy.
If you have received a bowel cancer screening test kit please don’t put it in a drawer or save it for ‘one day’ – make the time and put yourself first.
If you have misplaced or thrown your kit away, call the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program Infoline on 1800 627 701 for a replacement kit.
If you have had a recent diagnosis of breast cancer, are showing any breast symptoms or are pregnant or breast- feeding, you will need to discuss any concerns with your GP.
Self-collection for cervical screening is not suitable if you are experiencing symptoms such as unusual bleeding, discharge or pain.
Please discuss with your GP or nurse if you think you may be overdue for a cervical screen.