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DVD tackles bowel, rectal cancer stigma

Cancer survivor Rob Hasson with Clermont Region’s Dawid Pretorius and Tony Upton from the Clermont Community Business Group.
Cancer survivor Rob Hasson with Clermont Region’s Dawid Pretorius and Tony Upton from the Clermont Community Business Group.

MORE than 14,000 Australians are told they have bowel cancer every year which is why Clermont resident and bowel cancer patient Robert Hasson has launched a 10-minute DVD to raise funds and awareness about the disease.

Mr Hasson, who was diagnosed with rectal and bowel cancer in June 2008, received support of $16,500 from Rio Tinto's Clermont Region Community Development Fund to create the resource.

The DVD, launched at a recent Clermont Community and Business Group lunch, will be distributed to Rio Tinto Blair Athol and Clermont mine employees and will also be available for purchase online, with all proceeds going to cancer research.

"Bowel cancer is cancer of the colon or rectum and it is the most frequently occurring cancer in Australia to affect both men and women," Mr Hasson said.

"Unfortunately, it seems to be one of those diseases that you don't hear much about as there is this stigma attached to it that it's embarrassing.

"People may also be wary of potential treatment, such as having a colonoscopy, because they feel ashamed or uncomfortable about it," he said.

"The good news is it is one of the most curable types of cancer if it is detected early, which is why it's so important to raise awareness about it."

Clermont Community Business Group's Tony Upton said he was pleased to help launch the DVD for the benefit of the wider community.

"This is an important topic for all of us to understand and we look forward to sharing its message and promoting the DVD locally through our networks," Mr Upton said.

Mr Hasson said he felt compelled to share his story so others could learn from his mistakes, take preventative measures, and help families of sufferers understand the disease as well.

Clermont Region general manager operations Dawid Pretorius said he was pleased to support the DVD and encouraged his workforce and community to get checked regularly.

"Looking after your health is an important message and if the DVD leads to just one person having an early health check, then it has been worthwhile," Mr Pretorius said.

"Our support is an extension of the strong health and safety culture at our Blair Athol and Clermont mines."


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