Why bowel cancer screening is so important

Updated 6 Jun 2019.

Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in Australia, so we are shining a light on why it is so important to complete the bowel screening test it if you receive it in the mail.

  • Approximately 100 Australians die each week from bowel cancer
  • If found early, up to 99 per cent of cases can be cured
  • That's why, if you receive a bowel screening test in the mail, it is incredibly important that you complete the test

Each year, Australians between 50 and 74 receive the Government's free bowel screening test kit in the mail. The test is looking for blood, which can be a sign of pre-cancerous lesions and cancers in the early stages. These often don't have any symptoms.

But almost 60 per cent of West Australian residents are not using the free kit - particularly people in the younger age brackets.

Since the program first began in 2006, 5.5 million bowel cancer screening tests have been completed. But those aged 50 - 54 have the lowest participation rates, with just 30 per cent returning their test in 2016-2017.

We need to normalise the bowel screening test and make sure everyone understands the test is quick, hygienic and you can complete it in the comfort of your own home.

Bowel cancers diagnosed at stage 1 have a survival rate of 99 per cent. By contrast, stage 4 bowel cancer (the most advanced) has a survival rate of 13 per cent.

We would love to see less people throwing their home test kit in the bin, and instead do the life-saving test.

This year, two new age groups (52 and 56) have been added to the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, which means every person turning 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62, 64, 66, 70 or 72 in 2019 will receive the kit in the mail.

That's why, if you receive the bowel cancer screening kit in the mail we urge you to complete the kit!

It could just save your life.

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Found in:  News - 2019 | View all news