Bowel Cancer Australia has launched My Colonoscopy Experience, a nationwide questionnaire inviting Australians to provide feedback about an invasive procedure that comes with risks, including bowel perforation.
The announcement coincides with today’s release of the Colonoscopy Clinical Care Standard by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC).
“The Colonoscopy Clinical Care Standard is a welcome first step in outlining the care people who have a colonoscopy should receive, but no specific indicators to measure the patient’s experience are currently included,” said Bowel Cancer Australia CEO Julien Wiggins.
Bowel Cancer Australia is calling on the Federal and State Governments to increase funding for colonoscopies this Bowel Cancer Awareness Month (1-30 June) as new statistics reveal lengthy waitlists across the country continue to grow.
The AIHW’s National Bowel Cancer Screening Program: monitoring report 2018 reveals 84% of participants who received a positive screen did not receive a colonoscopy within the World Health Organisation’s recommended one-month timeframe, with research showing wait-times exceeding 120 days’ lead to poorer outcomes.
“People who receive a positive screen or experience bowel cancer symptoms must receive a timely follow-up colonoscopy, or the opportunity for early detection is lost,” Colorectal Surgeon Graham Newstead said.
After a colonoscopy, it is common to be hungry and thirsty as you would have been asked to fast and completely empty your bowel before the procedure. However, a high calorie meal may not be such a good idea as it may cause you pain and discomfort.
My 43-year-old partner went to his GP with symptoms including bloody stool and severe, painful, persistent and frequent stomach bloating.
The GP did all the tests – prostate examination, blood test, and faecal immunochemical test (FIT).
The FIT revealed elevated levels of a protein, which according to the GP could have meant Crohn’s Disease or early-onset bowel cancer.
Bowel Cancer Australia is calling on Federal, State and Territory Governments to commit to a national Colonoscopy Wait-time Guarantee to address delays in diagnosing Australia’s second biggest cancer killer.
“It is unacceptable that people with a positive screen or bowel cancer symptoms have to wait six months or longer for a colonoscopy to learn if they have cancer,” said Bowel Cancer Australia Chief Executive, Julien Wiggins.
Research shows diagnostic intervals exceeding 120 days are associated with poorer outcomes, yet 90% of National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) participants with a positive screen are waiting between 116-181 days.