Bowel cancer screening - your questions answered

Updated 7 Sep 2018.

I'm uncomfortable with the idea of collecting a sample, why should I do it?

Australia has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world, but the good news is it's one of the most preventable cancers.

Using the bowel cancer screening kit when it arrives in the mail is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk. The test is used to look for traces of blood that can't normally be detected.

It's simple, fast and free and can easily be completed at home. Check out the video below to see what's involved! 



What does a positive test result mean?

A positive test means blood has been found, it does not mean you have cancer.  It may be recommended that you see your GP to undergo more tests.

Am I at risk for bowel cancer?

There are several factors that can increase your cancer risk. If you're over the age of 50 your risk of bowel cancer is higher. This is why eligible people in this age group receive the free screening kit in the mail.

Other risk factors include a diet high in red or processed meat, smoking, drinking and not being physically active. In some cases, those diagnosed with bowel cancer have a personal or family history of the disease.


I currently go for colonoscopies, should I screen as well?

More than 90% of the population have an average risk of bowel cancer and should use the free screening kit when it arrives in the mail.

However, some may need to take a different path due to a family or personal history of bowel cancer.  It's important to talk to your GP to learn more about your personal level of cancer risk and screening needs.


When will my kit arrive?

You'll begin to receive the free screening kit in the mail after you turn 50.  To find out when your next kit will arrive, visit the government's cancer screening website and enter your date of birth.


I've lost my kit, can I get a replacement?

Yes, the government run screening program will send you a replacement kit if you need one. Call 1800 118 868 to find out more.


Looking for more information?

Find out how you can reduce your cancer risk here.
Learn more about bowel cancer screening here.

For additional cancer information, advice or support call our Cancer Nurses on 13 11 20


Found in:  News - 2018 | View all news