John Weinrich's life was saved by a bowel screening test that came in the mail.
John Weinrich's life was saved by a bowel screening test that came in the mail. Lee Constable

Aussie senior encourages screening after bowel cancer scare

JOHN Weinrich is your average Mackay man.

The 65-year-old mental health worker lives at Slade Point and looks fit for his age, so he admits he was a little shocked when the result from his free bowel cancer screening test came back positive.

This month is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and Mr Weinrich is encouraging everyone to get involved by having a free bowel cancer screening test.

"I think if I hadn't received the test in the mail, I probably would have never had one... I think men are a bit like that," he said.

After his test came back positive, he was referred for a colonoscopy at Mackay Base Hospital, which revealed two colonic polyps, one of which was 8mm.

The polyps have been successfully removed. Had they gone undetected, they could have become cancerous.

Just over half of the Mackay people sent free bowel cancer testing kits use them.

Mackay Base Hospital gastroenterology nurse co-ordinator Tania Mattinson said while this made Mackay the area with the highest participation rate in Queensland, there was room for improvement.

"If you get the kit, do the test - you never know, it might save your life," she said.

Ms Mattinson said there was a stigma around the disease, which was preventing people from getting involved with the free testing.

"I think it's because you are dealing with the bowel," she said.

The test was easy to do and could be done in the privacy of your own home, she said.

Healthy lifestyle changes were the best way to prevent bowel cancer.

Mr Weinrich said he had tried to improve the "quality of food" he was eating.

"I keep away from take

aways and try not to eat a lot of fried food... I eat a lot more fresh vegies," he said.


The facts

  •  1 in 20 people will be diagnosed with bowel cancer.
  •  It's Australia's second biggest cancer killer after lung cancer.