Your Local Pharmacist is

Jay Koovarjee

 92 Pitt St
Sydney NSW 2000
ph: (02) 9221 0091
fax: (02) 8880-8326

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:: In Brief


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:: Bowelscan Saves Lives!

Bowelscan Saves Lives!

Regular Bowelscan Saves Lives!

Bowelscan is an Australia-wide Bowel Cancer Awareness Program run by Rotary Clubs.  Cancer of the bowel is the commonest internal cancer to affect men and women in western society. Over 9,000 Australians will be diagnosed as having bowel cancer this year and over 4,500 will die of the disease.

Australia has the world’s highest incidence of bowel cancer - 1 in 12 (for both men and women). Age is an important factor. The risk begins at age 40, doubling every 5 years until age 60 and even more rapidly as the person gets older.

Statistics show 90% of bowel cancers can be successfully cured if detected at an early stage. Early detection leads to an improved prognosis and less severe treatment.

BOWEL CANCERS begin as polyp. Polyps are growths occurring in the lining of the bowel. Not all polyps are cancerous, they may or may not bleed and cause diarrhoea and pain. Because polyps can develop into cancer, early diagnosis and removal of all polyps is important. More than 75% of people who develop bowel cancer do not have a family history of bowel cancer.

It is strongly recommended ALL men and women over the age of 40 to have a Bowelscan test EVERY YEAR!

The risk of bowel cancer increases 3 to 4 times the average if:

  • One or more of your blood relatives (parent, sibling or child) have had bowel cancer or polyps

  • You’ve previously had bowel cancer or polyps

  • You’ve had extensive inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis)

  • You have a history of bleeding with or in the stool

  • You have experienced a recent change in bowel habit or pain in lower abdomen

Persons in any of the above categories should consult their doctor for follow up investigation.

It is important to note that Bowel Cancers also occur in people without high risk factors.

Bowelscan tests for everyone over 40!

Bowelscan is a Rotary program developed in 1982 in New South Wales and now conducted by over 250 Rotary Clubs across Australia.

These Clubs issue approximately 150,000 kits during their annual Colorectal Screening programs.  Since Bowelscan commenced, it is estimated that more than 1,000 people with bowel cancer and 5,000 with polyps have been detected.

In 1990, a National Committee comprising representatives from Rotary Districts operating Bowelscan programs was established to develop and maintain protocols.

Bowelscan is essentially a public awareness program seeking to increase community knowledge of bowel cancer and its symptoms. The project involves the distribution to the public of a simple test kit on which is collected small specimens of faeces for analysis.  The cost of the kit varies from $5.00 to $10.00, depending on the degree of volunteer involvement and sponsorship each Rotary group receives.

Bowelscan kits are often distributed through local Pharmacies and the kits can also be returned to your pharmacy for sending for analysis.  Some Rotary groups also set up stalls in shopping centres to sell the kits directly to the public.

Kits are being sold in Southern Sydney from 6 March to 9 April and should be returned for analysis by the end of April.

How Does Bowelscan Work?

Bowelscan analysisBowelscan is simply a chemical test for screening invisible (occult) blood in the stool, which if present may indicate a bowel cancer or polyp. However, there may be bleeding for other reasons, i.e., hamerroids, non cancerous growths. There may be a cancer present which is not bleeding, however 90% of Cancers and Polyps do bleed.  This is why it is important to repeat the test annually.  In the early stages bowel cancers and polyps do bleed intermittently.

Occult Blood Test Kit (Hemoccult II).

The Occult Blood Test Kits are easy to use, come with easy to follow instructions, and are completed in the privacy of one’s home.
The pathology card attached to the kit must be completed and signed by the person doing the test – if the pathology card is detached from the test kit the test becomes invalid.

Why Hemoccult II (Guaiac) test kit?

Hemoccult II (Guaiac) is the longest and most popular test kit on the market, used worldwide the US, UK, Europe, South America and Asia with many well detailed researches and trials documented. In the United Kingdom, a Guaiac FOBT is used by the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Program.

Hemoccult II was chosen by the Bowelscan Program as the most affordable test kit for all people in Australia.

For People Doing The Bowelscan Test

The cost of the kit includes the pathology testing. All kits are tested by an accredited pathology and all results are sent to a Bowelscan Medical Advisor, who in turn notifies each participant of their result.

Please read all information on the Bowelscan kit envelope and instruction sheet enclosed therein before proceeding with the test.

No red meatMEDICATION GUIDELINES - check with your GP or Pharmacist if you have any questions

  • For SEVEN days before and during the stool collection period avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin (more than one adult aspirin a day).  Tylenol can be taken as needed.

  • For THREE days before and during the stool collection period AVOID vitamin C in excess of 250 mg a day from supplements, and citrus fruits and juices

  • DO NOT take supplementary tablets containing iron.


  • For THREE days before and during stool collection period AVOID red meats (beef, lamb and liver)

  • Eat a well balanced diet including fibre such as bran cereals, fruits and vegetables

 If you have any questions please speak to our Pharmacy staff.  Now is the time to pick up your Bowelscan kit as they will be sold in Pharmacies until 12th April.  It is important to return the completed kit to your pharmacy by the end of April.

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