Many Australians die of bowel cancer every week, but most cancers could be cured if we find them early. This year, we are asking communities with high rates of bowel cancer to do the test and possibly save their life.

We have prepared a campaign for South Asian communities in their language. This is because we want everyone in these communities to understand the message.

The South Asian community is growing faster than other Victorian communities, and many people in those communities are the right age to do the bowel cancer test. If you are over 50 years old you should be doing the test.

Campaigns in Tamil, Hindi and Sinhalese are being published across Victoria since 9 September. People can hear them on the radio, see them in newspapers, and on Facebook, and read on posters in community centres across Victoria.

We have also created videos that will help people from South Asian communities:

  • understand why bowel cancer screening is important
  • how to do the at-home test,
  • and what to do if you receive a positive test result.

The videos are in Sinhalese and Hindi with subtitles in Tamil and Punjabi, because we want as many people as possible to hear the message. They will be played at local community events and shared on social media.

Charissa Feng, Priority Communities Manager for Cancer Council Victoria, said the message of the campaign is simple: Do the test. It could save your life.

“Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in Australia,” Charissa said.

“We asked the community and we heard that people from Sri Lanka and India believe they cannot get bowel cancer. But that is not true, Sri Lankan and Indian people can get bowel cancer and need to do the bowel cancer test to help find this cancer early.”

Almost all bowel cancers can be cured if we find them in time. We can find them early if people do the free at-home test. The Australian Government sends the at-home test every two years to the homes of people aged 50-74. Unfortunately, many people don’t do this test and are putting their lives at risk.

Currently, less than half of the people who receive the test actually do it. We also know that people from the South Asian community participate a lot less than the general Victorian population.

Anyone aged between 50-74 can do the free at-home bowel cancer test, and we ask everyone to do it when it arrives in their mailbox.

“Bowel cancer can grow even if you feel well, and that is why doing the test is so important – even if you feel fine.”

Dr Ovida Vipulaguna is one of the GPs that appear in the Sinhalese language video. He asks every person in the South Asian community to do the test when they receive it in the mail. “The home screening test is easy, clean and free,” he said “and doing the test could save your life”.

“Using the bowel cancer test could help you live longer to enjoy life with the people you love.”

We also ask people to speak to their doctor for more information.

Tamil, Hindi, Punjabi and Sinhalese speakers can call 13 14 50 for information in their language – just ask for Cancer Council Victoria.

We hope that by creating resources in South Asian languages, more people from this community will do the test.

Do the free test when it’s mailed to your home.

“Do the test so that you can find bowel cancer early, do it for your family.”

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