Mr KERR (Cronulla) [3.58 p.m.]: Today I refer to the 2002 Rotary bowel scan initiative. I refer, first, to the incidence of bowel cancer and to the mortality rate in New South Wales, which, of course, includes my electorate of Cronulla. Bowel cancer is the most common cancer in New South Wales. There are about 4,100 new cases of bowel cancer in New South Wales each year. Bowel cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death for male and females. There are about 1,600 deaths from bowel cancer each year. Using the 1999 figures, one in 18 males and one in 26 females will develop bowel cancer by the age of 75. The Rotary clubs of Sutherland shire undertook the bowel scan initiative. They did so with the assistance of many members of the community who helped to make this important community health initiative such a success. Approximately 4,000 bowel scan test kits were sold.
Unfortunately, only half of those were returned for testing. This is of concern, and one of the objectives is to encourage people to get into the habit of screening annually. Of those tested, 1.3 per cent had a positive result. That is regarded as a normal clinical result. All positive clients were notified immediately, as were their doctors. Hopefully, early medical diagnosis will avert many dangerous conditions which might otherwise go undetected until it is too late. Action is in hand, now that testing has been completed, to notify all negative result clients of their results. It is important to point out that to ensure the best protection, screening should be undertaken annually. Early detection of any abnormality is the best step towards a successful cure. The program is a good example of the community working together.
I would like to mention the assistance of a number of sectors of the community. Sutherland Shire Council staff were helpful in the mailing of the initial advertising leaflets with the January rate notices. Assistance with the handbills was also provided by Danna Vale, the Federal member for Hughes. All shire pharmacies co-operated in the selling of the kits. Hospital and laboratory staff assisted in the clinical and clerical import required to test and record results. Trainee students at Gymea TAFE established a database to assist with mailing, and business houses distributed leaflets. The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader—a publication I referred to only yesterday with regard to its role in alerting the community to the public liability crisis—published an article on a happy survivor. That article was an influential piece of reading. I also thank the shire's medical fraternity for their encouragement and, last but not least, Rotary club members who distributed leaflets, resupplied pharmacies, collected the kits for analysis and worked in the hospital laboratory to open the kits ready for testing. It was a great community effort. Once again, it goes to show that there is not much wrong in the world that cannot be fixed with what is right in Sutherland Shire.