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Take Action This Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

Bowel cancer is the second highest cause of cancer death in New Zealand, with over 1,200 people dying each year, as many as breast and prostate cancer combined. June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, so Kiwis are urged to learn the symptoms and take action this winter.

“We are losing far too many loved ones to this disease every year, and we shouldn’t be. Bowel cancer is curable in 90% of cases if caught early enough. Early detection and prevention are key, and that’s why our focus this June is symptom awareness,” says Rebekah Heal, General Manager at Bowel Cancer New Zealand (NZ).

The inspiration behind the Bowel Cancer Awareness Month campaign this year is Naomi Argyle, 45, a stage 4 bowel cancer patient given weeks to live. Naomi wants to see people act on their symptoms and get checked.

“I feel like I have to shout it from the rooftops, making noise so that if just one other person like me will go and get checked, and jump up and down if you have symptoms to get tests,” says Naomi.

This June, there will be symptom awareness posters in shopping mall bathrooms, street posters, on major billboards, and on the backs of buses nationwide. Bowel Cancer NZ will also be at Fieldays and the upcoming General Practitioners Conference to help get the word out.

“Telling my girls was the worst thing I have ever done in my life... That’s what’s making me want to shout about this when I still can – to stop other families having to go through this,” says Naomi.

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Bowel Cancer NZ has developed an online symptom checker, which 1,500 Kiwis utilised last year. The charity also has awareness resources available to download and order via their website.

“We hope Kiwis take action this June and help us make some noise for Naomi. Know the symptoms, get checked and help raise money for this important cause,” says Rebekah Heal.

Visit bowelcancernz.org.nz/awareness-month to:

• Do the online symptom checker.

• Host an awareness event.

• Advocate for lowering the screening age and for new bowel cancer medicines.

• Set up a fundraiser to help beat bowel cancer.

• Donate to fund this vital mahi so fewer lives are lost to this silent killer.

Bowel Cancer NZ is a nationwide, patient-focused charity dedicated to reducing the impact of bowel

cancer in our communities through awareness, education, advocacy, research, and patient support.

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