A preventable form of cancer
Chadwick Boseman's death from colon cancer death has sparked many important conversations around the country and it's important all Australians know how to reduce their risk of bowel cancer.
Firstly, Boseman had colon cancer, how is that different from bowel cancer? Bowel cancer, or colorectal cancer, are both terms that collectively refer to colon and rectal cancer. They are generally referred to together given their proximity, their symptoms and the way they are diagnosed.
The good news is that 90 per cent of bowel cancers can be successfully treated - if detected early.
Australia's National Bowel Cancer Screening Program is the most effective way of finding bowel cancer early, which can substantially improve your chance of surviving the disease. The program is free and will send a test kit in the mail to all Australians aged 50-74. It's so important you take this test and don't leave it sitting in a drawer.
NSW has the second lowest screening participation rate in Australia, so we have some work to do. The national average is around 40 per cent and if we can raise this to 60 per cent, our research has found that we could save almost 84,000 lives in the next 20 years.
Boseman was only 43 when he died. The screening program doesn't target people that young as their risk is significantly lower. The risk factors for bowel cancer include age, family history, hereditary syndromes and lifestyle factors.
Eating more foods containing dietary fibre, eating less red and processed meat, being physically active, limiting alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking can all reduce your risk of developing bowel cancer by almost 50 per cent.
If anyone of any age has a family history of bowel cancer or shows any symptoms (rectal bleeding, changing bowel habits etc), I encourage them to speak to their GP to discuss their personal risk. If you have any questions about cancer you can also call our 13 11 20 Information and Support Service.
E. Feletto, Cancer Council
Clear signs needed
As a dog owner who frequents the Shoalhaven Council's leash free dog beaches I have become increasingly concerned at the number of dogs at the Bogey Hole area near Ulladulla, particularly as the summer tourist season approaches.
This tiny stretch of 'paradise' is enjoyed by elderly bathers, young families and people with a disability, the concrete path/ramp allowing for wheelchair access.
Although there is a wonderful leash free dog beach close by, south of this area at Collers Beach, dog owners are bringing their pets into the Bogey Hole area making the area unsafe for visitors.
Signage with a definite demarcation line between Collers Beach and the Bogey Hole, indicating a 'No Dog Zone' as well as a 'You are Here' arrow is needed.
M. McKeon, Milton
Men are victims of violence as well
Last Tuesday's episode of The Drum discussed male victims of domestic violence. The tone of the show was as if this was an expose.
For a decade a small advocacy group oneinthreee has been presenting to government inquiries regarding male victims. Our aim has been to publicise the need to provide male victims of domestic violence similar support to that available to women. Oneinthree also runs a website that provides much of the research that the Drum assumes does not exist. Oneinthree is not a men's rights activist group.
If people wish to see what we have been doing over this time, please look at our website at oneinthree.com.
One falsehood flown by a Drum panellist was that he knew of no man who had ever been turned away by a women's domestic violence service. In three decades as a social worker I have never known of a male victim who was assisted by a women's service.