By Natalee Kerr
Toilet humour was at the centre stage of a comedy act that visited Geelong this week to highlight the importance of bowel cancer prevention among the local Indigenous community.
Cancer Council Victoria (CCV) sent stand-up comedian Denise McGuinness to performed Flushed! A Coonie Could Save Your Life at North Geelong’s Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative on Tuesday.
Ms McGuinness said the comedy removed the stigma associated with the at-home bowel screening test.
“Delivering a health message through humour empowers our community to be able to have those difficult conversations that we would normally feel real shame about,” she said.
“There’s no shame in doing a bowel screening test. It’s clean, you can do it in the comfort of your own home and it’s free.”
More than 2400 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live in Geelong, according to 2016 Census data.
Bowel cancer is their second-most common cancer, with screen occurring at “very low” rates, according to CCV Aboriginal liaison officer Andrea Casey.
“Less than a quarter of people from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community participate in bowel screening, compared with 41 per cent of non-Aboriginal people,” Ms Casey said.
“Because of these low screening rates, Indigenous Australians also have a lower chance of surviving five years following a bowel cancer diagnosis.”
Advice on the at-home test is available at cancervic.org.au/bowel or by phoning 13 11 20.