People often ask me how awareness of a disease can improve outcomes.
In the case of bowel cancer, the answer is simple – early diagnosis of bowel cancer means excellent cure rates. As an example of how this can work, 90% of Australian women now participate in breast cancer screening and the result is that the overall cure rate for breast cancer in Australia is close to 90% as well.
If a patient is diagnosed with early bowel cancer, the cure rate is also close to 90%.
Unfortunately however the overall cure rate for bowel cancer in Australia is just under 65%. And the reason for that? One of them is definitely that Australians seem to have less awareness about bowel cancer than other cancers partly due to a reluctance to think about or consider the disease. The end result of that is that fewer than 40% of Australians participate in bowel cancer screening.
If that participation rate could match that of breast cancer, the cure rate for bowel cancer in this country would rise dramatically.