Five minutes that saved my life: SBS presenter Anton Enus' bowel cancer warning amid shock data


Too busy to take the free bowel cancer screening test? SBS presenter Anton Enus has some advice: take the test.

SBS World News presenter Anton Enus ran marathons, ate a healthy diet, and didn't smoke. So when he was diagnosed with bowel cancer in December 2016, he was shocked.

“I had no symptoms. I had no advanced warning. I had no discomfort. But I did have bowel cancer,” the award-winning journalist said.

The Bowel Cancer Australia ambassador said a national screening program saved his life.

“I’ve no doubt in my mind at all that the screening program gave me the best shot at a good outcome. And I also have no doubt that it saved my life," he said.

The National Bowel Cancer screening program has been running for over a decade, targeting Australians aged between 50 and 74.

But startling new figures from the NSW Cancer Institute show only 39 per cent of eligible people are taking up the free government test across Australia.


In NSW alone, 40 per cent of people surveyed said they were “too busy” to do it.

After more than a year of treatment, Mr Enus said he’s on a mission to spread awareness about deadly disease and screening program.

“It’s a very serious public health threat to our country and I believe that talking about it, arming yourself with information is the best thing you can do," he said.

Bowel cancer is Australia’s second biggest cancer killer behind lung cancer, leaving more than 4,000 dead each year. The risk of bowel cancer increases with age and men are more likely to be diagnosed.

“If we can get up to 60 per cent participation by 2020, we can save up to almost 84,000 lives in Australia over the next 25 years,” NSW Bowel Cancer Screening Program Manager, Christopher Horn, told SBS.

The simple test takes less than five minutes to complete, requiring people to mail a stool sample to a lab.

The low uptake of the test has prompted the NSW government to release a campaign encouraging people to "Do The Test" in a bid to start what many perceive as an uncomfortable conversation.

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