Cups brew cancer awareness

West Moreton Health and Ipswich cafes have brewed a plan to raise awareness of regular bowel screening by sharing a cup of coffee.

This June, as part of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, 16 Ipswich cafes will join the Coffee Cup Campaign, which highlights importance of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP).

Under the campaign, a total of 11,000 cups have been distributed between the participating cafes to use in June. The cups will feature three key messages to raise awareness of the NBCSP and encourage eligible people to complete their bowel screening kit when it arrives in the mail. West Moreton Health will provide cafes with posters and brochures about the program.

West Moreton Health Cancer Screening Health Promotion Officer Leanne Kelly said bowel screening was key to early detection and sharing a cup of coffee would help raise awareness and start a conversation.

“It’s all about raising community awareness and starting an important conversation that may just save someone’s life,” Ms Kelly said.

Bowel cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in Australia, however, more than 90% of bowel cancers could be treated if detected early.

“Bowel cancer often develops without any symptoms, meaning it can grow in the bowel for years before spreading to other parts of the body. Early screening can detect small changes, leading to early treatment,” she said.

“The NBSCP promotes the importance of regular bowel screening and sends out free bowel cancer screening tests to eligible Australians aged 50-74.”

The bowel screening test is posted to eligible Australians every two years after the age of 50. People complete the test at home and send the sample to the pathology laboratory in the reply-paid envelope provided.

Ms Kelly said the samples were processed at no charge and the result was sent to the nominated doctor within two weeks.

“If you or a loved one have a bowel screening kit sitting at home, remember to use it,” Ms Kelly said.

Bowel cancer is most common in people over 50 but can occur at any age.

“If something doesn’t feel right, don’t ignore it – speak with your doctor about what test might be right for you,” she said.

To order a replacement test, phone 1800 627 701. 

For more information about the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, visit