A giant knitted bowel weighing over 30kg and complete with polyps, haemorrhoids and diverticula pouches, is on display at Hamilton Base Hospital during Bowel Cancer Awareness Month.
Western District Health Service (WDHS) is partnering with the Woolly West Fest to exhibit the bowel in Hamilton and surrounding areas over the coming weeks.
The Woolly West Fest’s Jacinta Wareham says the bowel took a large group of knitters in the Warrnambool, Moyne and Corangamite communities over 500 hours to knit, using over 50km of wool.
“In 2016 the South West Healthcare Bowel Cancer Prevention Team came up with the idea of knitting the bowel to get people talking about Bowel Cancer.
Not only did the task of knitting the bowel prove a conversation starter, but the four metre long creation was also exhibited at venues across the southwest,” Ms Wareham said.
The giant knitted bowel is 23 times the size of a normal large bowel and reveals what a healthy and unhealthy bowel looks like. It also includes some interesting bowel facts for kids and adults.
WDHS Chief Executive, Rohan Fitzgerald says the bowel is already proving a local conversation piece.
“We have already had some great feedback from the community and staff. It’s a novel way to get people talking about this serious topic and to encourage more people to take the bowel cancer screening test.
People are overloaded with information, so it’s important to keep changing the way we engage with our community to deliver important health messages,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
Statistics suggest that one in thirteen people will develop bowel cancer in their lifetime and Surgeon, Stephen Clifforth says it’s critical that people understand the symptoms, their family history and consider taking the screening test.
“Bowel Cancer is currently the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Australia, even though it is one of the most treatable forms of cancer, if found early.
In 25% of cases there is a family history or hereditary element too, so it is important that people know whether family members have had the disease.
As a precaution, it is recommended that people over 50 take the free bowel cancer screening test every one or two years. However it’s also important for people to understand that even if they’ve had a negative screening result, if they are experiencing symptoms or are at all concerned, they should see their doctor immediately,” Mr Clifforth said.
For more information visit bowelcanceraustralia.org or talk to your GP or pharmacist.