The Kilmore and District Hospital raised awareness and funds for Bowel Cancer Australia with a Red Apple Day morning tea on Wednesday.

Director of medical services Dr Martin Duffy said bowel cancer was the leading cause of cancer in both men and women in Australia.

The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program is a national initiative that encourages people over 50 to screen themselves for bowel cancer in the privacy of their own home with a take-home testing kit.

For the past three months, the hospital has provided a direct access colonoscopy service for anyone who has received a positive result from the screening program.

“The Kilmore and District Hospital this year has started a direct access colonoscopy service for National Bowel Cancer Screening patients where we offer them the opportunity for their colonoscopy to be done within 30 days,” Dr Duffy said.

“For people who are worried about their possible cancer diagnosis, this provides rapid access to a diagnostic service that can see whether further treatment is needed.”

The quick turnaround service is available free to patients who have had a positive result from the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program and have been referred to the hospital by their GP.

“If you’ve got a suspicion of a cancer diagnosis, you want to get it sorted out as quickly as possible. We’ve had coming up to 30 patients now in the three months and so far we’ve been able to treat all patients within 30 days,” Dr Duffy said.

“We have the capacity to provide greater numbers going forward so we can respond to the need within the community.

“We know there are many people getting positive test results but they’re having the colonoscopies in lots of different places and we want to know that The Kilmore and District Hospital is here for them.”

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