20 June 2022

Australian cricket legend Merv Hughes, together with Wendy Harmer, Richard Wilkins, Gavin Wanganeen and Dr Ginni Mansberg are fronting a national awareness campaign, ‘Talking Sh!t’ urging Australians aged 50-74 to give two sh!ts about bowel cancer.

Bowel cancer is Australia’s second biggest cancer killer. It can develop without symptoms, but if detected early it can be successfully treated or even prevented in more than 90% of cases.

This is why screening to detect bowel cancer in its early stages, when treatment can be most effective, is the key to saving lives. The aim of the campaign is to encourage Australians aged 50-74 to complete the simple, free screening test when it arrives in the post from the Australian Government.

National bowel cancer charity the Jodi Lee Foundation has partnered with the Australian Government’s Department of Health to deliver the ‘Talking Sh!t’ campaign, with the main aim of saving lives.

Jodi Lee Foundation Founder and Chair, Nick Lee OAM says “Currently too many Australians are ignoring this test.  Only 43.5% of Australians who are sent the test complete it (33.5% of those aged 50-54).”

Merv Hughes, the face of the campaign, explains the urgency in completing the test as quickly as you can after it arrives in the mail.

“I know it may be tempting to put it off or even stuff it away in a drawer to think about for another day, but please put your health first and just get onto it as soon as you can. It really is simple”.

“And if you’ve already done your bowel screening test, ask your mates if they’ve done theirs. Talking Sh!t with your mates next time you see them really could be life-saving”, said Hughes.

Hughes also explains why being a part of this campaign is so important to him.

“I’ve recently lost a mate to bowel cancer, and it’s important to me to get the message out there that completing your bowel screening test is something you should 100% prioritise when you receive it. It could save your life.”

To keep the important conversation going and for these health messages to reach new audiences, Talking Sh!t Ambassador Merv Hughes hosts a fun and informative quiz show, The Talking Sh!t Show with Wendy Harmer, Richard Wilkins, Gavin Wanganeen and Dr Ginni Mansberg fighting it out for the title of the best ‘sh!t talker’, which can be seen across multiple social media channels.

As Merv Hughes puts it, “We want Australians to start talking sh!t, seriously, and to save lives.”

To watch The Talking Sh!t Show and to learn more click here.


Australians aged between 50-74 receive a free bowel screening test kit in the mail every two years, thanks to the Australian Government’s National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP). The screening test is not a test for cancer, it detects traces of blood in bowel movements – which may indicate the presence of polyps (a small clump of cells that form on the lining of the bowel) or bowel cancer, among other causes.

These tiny amounts of blood are not noticeable just by looking – that’s where screening comes in.

Unfortunately, only 43.5% of Australians who are sent the test actually complete it (only 33.5% aged 50-54) and this rate is even lower in regional and rural Australia.

About The Jodi Lee Foundation

The Jodi Lee Foundation is a leading voice for the prevention and early detection of bowel cancer.

The Jodi Lee Foundation was established in 2010 in honour of Jodi Lee who lost her life to bowel cancer at the age of 41, leaving behind her husband and two young children.

Before her diagnosis, Jodi was fit and healthy. She had no family history and no symptoms. The saddest part of all, is that Jodi’s story could have had a different outcome if her cancer had been detected early. With that simple fact as the driving force, the Jodi Lee Foundation was established.

Each year, the Jodi Lee Foundation reaches millions of Australians through its initiatives to fight bowel cancer – one bowel screening test at a time, one awareness campaign at a time, one story at a time.

For more information about The Jodi Lee Foundation, visit:  www.jodileefoundation.org.au.

Media contact:

Hannah Devereux
Co-Founder and Director
0422 003 873
[email protected]