The free test-at-home kit which Australians shouldn't ignore when they receive it in the mail.
The free test-at-home kit which Australians shouldn't ignore when they receive it in the mail. Bowel Cancer Australia

Boosted bowel cancer campaign to tackle testing numbers

IT'S THE second most common cause of cancer-related death in Australia, but with early detection bowel cancer can be managed successfully.

If more Australians understood better the benefits of bowel cancer screening, more lives can be saved.

It's free and simple to do. During this year Australians aged 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70, 72 and 74 will be invited to screen using the home test kit.

The test kit contains a full instruction booklet, a zip-lock bag, two flushable collection sheets, two sampling sticks and sterile collection tubes, two identification stickers for the collection tubes, two transportation tubes, and a prepaid envelope and checklist with which to return your samples.

During the year 2015-26, 3.2 million Australians were invited to use this free screening kit. Only 41 per cent chose to participate.

"Participation in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program has remained fairly stagnant since 2006, with just four in 10 Australians invited to screen taking up the potentially life-saving opportunity,” Bowel Cancer Australia CEO Julien Wiggins said. "We will be closely monitoring participation rates to see if this funding will have its desired impact.”

Already there are 17,000 Australians diagnosed with this cancer each year. But, if the screening participation rates increase to 60 per cent, more than 83,000 lives can be saved by 2040.

From the age of 50, the risk of bowel cancer increases. One in 11 men and one in 15 women develop bowel cancer before the age of 85.

Symptoms can often be silent, so screening is absolutely critical for early detection. Testing can find the early warning signs even before bowel cancer develops.

Research shows that 90 per cent of bowel cancers can be successfully treated through early detection.

The new national Bowel Cancer Screening awareness campaign is being boosted by $10 million from the Federal Government. It will target increasing awareness about the benefits of early detection, prompt diagnosis and treatment.

For more information about the screening program go to www.cancerscreening.gov.au.


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