Regular screening for bowel cancer is one of the most effective ways for preventing bowel cancer. 90% of bowel cancers can be treated successfully if detected early. Screening programs are important and do save lives.
Positive results from bowel screening programs do not confirm the presence of bowel cancer but indicate the presence of blood that may be invisible to the naked eye in your bowel movement. This may be an early warning sign. You should speak to your GP who will initiate further investigation such as a colonoscopy.
National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP)
The Australian Government currently offers a free screening tests to Australians turning 50, 55, 60 and 65 years of age. From January 2015, those turning 70 will also be invited to participate. Eligible Australians who hold a Medicare card or Veterans' Affairs card will automatically receive a free test kit in the mail around the time of their birthday.
For more information about the NBCSP please visit www.cancerscreening.gov.au/bowel or phone 1800 118 868.
Let's Beat Bowel Cancer encourages Australians who have received a free screening kit as part of the NBCSP to participate in this program.
If you are not eligible for the NBCSP, other ways to obtain a screening test include:
You can purchase a bowel screening test online by visiting www.colovantage.com.au. Alternatively you can order one via this website by clicking on "Order a Screening Test" above.
BowelScreen Australia® is a pharmacy-based bowel cancer awareness, education and screening program for the Australian community using an immunochemical faecal occult blood test (also known as ColoVantage Home). This test is clinically proven, accurate and reliable.
- BowelScreen Australia® kits can be obtained from participating community pharmacies and cost around $40 ($25 payed upfont for the kit, then $15 for the pathology fee payable when sending the sample off for testing). The kit comes complete with full instructions, a dedicated customer helpline, and an annual reminder service.Does not require faecal handling or changes in diet or medication
- Negative tests should be repeated every 1 to 2 years
- Positive tests should be followed by a colonoscopy
- A health fund or Medicare rebate may be available
You complete the test at home and return it to the manufacturer for pathology analysis. The results of the analysis are sent back to you and your nominated GP within two weeks.
Your GP may be able to provide you with a bowel screening test and advise on possible Medicare rebates that may be available.
If you have any questions regarding which is the best bowel screening program to participate in based on your own circumstances, please speak to your GP.