With the NRL State of Origin set to kick off in Sydney, Aussies are being encouraged to take a half-time toilet break during the 2022 series and do a test to help save lives from bowel cancer.

Putting their competitive spirits aside, former Rugby League and Origin greats Petero Civoniceva (QLD) and Geoff Toovey (NSW) joined Dr Mike Freelander, and Cancer Council CEO, Dr Tanya Buchanan, in urging Australians to #Get2It on bowel cancer screening.

Representing the new Health Minister, Mark Butler, Dr Freelander announced a partnership today between the Australian Government, Cancer Council and the National Rugby League (NRL), who have teamed up to encourage eligible Australians to participate in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.

The program provides people aged 50-74 years with free bowel screening tests every two years.

Dr Freelander stated that it was vital more Australians do their free test.

“Only 43.5% of eligible Australians presently undertake their free bowel cancer screen test. Early detection is critical, and so I am pleased to announce this initiative to encourage more Australians to take their test,” he said.

Speaking about his own electorate, Dr Freelander said that Macarthur has one of the highest instances of bowel cancer in the country.

“It is very important that we step up, #Get2It, and take the test,” he said.

In the spirit of healthy competition, the latest statistics show while Queensland scored an early victory over its NSW neighbours by returning more bowel screening tests (QLD 41.6% vs. NSW 40.5%), both states trail behind the national participation rate of 43.5%.

For more information on Bowel Cancer or the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program campaign, go to bowelcancer.org.au.