Men are men no matter where you are in the world. The Australian Institute of Health just released their first report on their National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.
This program sent out 450,000 feccal occult blood tests (FOBT) to Australians between the ages of 55 and 65. The FOBT, tests for hidden blood in the stool. Since cancerous and pre-cancerous polyps can bleed the tests are used to detect early warning signs of colorectal cancer.
Only 40% of the kits were used in the individuals homes and returned via mail to the laboratory. Nearly 7% of those returned were positive for blood and men were 40% more likely to have positive results than women. This is just in line with men having a higher risk for colorectal cancer than women.
However, 20% more women returned the kits than men. It’s a shame that no matter where you are in the world men seem to be less likely to undergo preventive health screenings than women.
A physician from the University of Toronto added some humor in discussing the recent colorectal cancer screening program in Canada, ColonCancerCheck. Urging to get your butt to the doctor for screening, he highlighted the challenges of chasing your stool around the toilet with a stick to get a sample for the FOBT.
However, some FOBT are a little easier. The EZ Detect Colon Disease Test, simply involves dropping a special tissue in the toilet after 3 consecutive bowel movements and noting any color change to the tissue. A color change indicates the presence of hidden blood. These results can then be shared with you physician. Now, how can we get men to get on board and do something that simple? Well, that’s beyond the scope of this post. But there are simple and cheap options out there to help in your preventive health needs.