Courageous West Aussies share personal cancer journeys for new campaign

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Courageous West Aussies share personal cancer journeys for new campaign

Cancer Council WA has released a new campaign with Gatecrasher through the brands Find Cancer Early Program featuring two West Aussies diagnosed with bowel cancer, in a bid to motivate regional Western Australians to seek medical advice earlier if they notice changes in their body.


Cancer Council WA CEO, Ashley Reid, said the new campaign titled Give yourself the best chance, comes off the back of new data that shows testimonial style ads create better connection with viewers and seem to be more memorable than messages delivered by doctors(1).

Reid said: “I would like to thank our brave champions, Damien Healy and Cherie Slater, both having lived in the Mid West, who have generously shared their stories with us for this campaign.

“We know that testimonial style ads are more memorable and connect with our viewers more, so we are enormously grateful to Damian and Cherie who stepped forward to share their stories as part of this campaign.

“Their personal stories, which feature in the ads, as well as videos on the campaign website, give the campaign authenticity which we believe will have a powerful impact.”


Read continued: “Research shows people living in regional Australia have lower rates of five-year survival for all cancers combined, compared with people living in major cities(2).

“Previous research(3) in Western Australia shows regional people present at the GP at a later stage because they are less aware of cancer symptoms, more optimistic, more laid back, less willing to seek help and sometimes make excuses for not seeking help, therefore resulting in later stage cancer diagnoses.

“While the Find Cancer Early messages are getting through, there is still a long way to go.

“We urge West Aussies living in regional WA who are over 40 to see their doctor if they notice anything unusual, like blood in their poo or wee, or have coughed up any blood.

“Give yourself the best chance of finding cancer early by going to the doctor earlier if you have symptoms, so that treatment is easier, and you can be around longer for friends and family.”

If you have symptoms or unusual changes, it does not mean you have cancer. In most cases, these symptoms will not be due to cancer, but it’s important that you discuss them with your doctor just in case.

It’s important to remember bowel cancer screening kits, cervical screening and screening mammograms are designed for people who DO NOT have any symptoms. The organisation warns waiting to participate in a cancer screening program if you have symptoms could delay your diagnosis and risk a worse outcome.


Agency: Gatecrasher
Account Team: Emma Lambert, Sara Cunningham
Creative Directors: Adam Barker, Lori Canalini
Production Company: Stir Fry Content
Producer: Elsie Shaw
DOP: Elliott Nieves
Sound / Lighting Assistant: Toby Bajrovic
Production Coordinator: Jess Seinor
Edit & Grade: Ben Wright

1. Maxwell-Smith, C. “There were doctors giving advice”: Perceptions of the Find Cancer Early Campaign Message in Regional Western Australians. Cancer Council Cancer Epidemiology Conference, 2022. Unpublished conference presentation.
2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019. Cancer in Australia 2019. Cancer series no.119. Cat. no. CAN 123. Canberra: AIHW.
3. Emery, J., Walter, F., Gray, V., Sinclair, C., Howting, D., Bulsara, M., Bulsara, C., Webster, A., Auret, K., Saunders, C., Nowak, A., & Holman, DA. (2013). Diagnosing cancer in the bush: a mixed-methods study of symptom appraisal and help-seeking behaviour in people with cancer from rural Western Australia. Family Practice, 30(3), 294-301.