Finding cancer early improves your chances of successful treatment and long-term survival
Bowel cancer screening
Your risk of developing bowel cancer increases with age and Cancer Council recommends everyone takes a screening test every two years from the age of 50.
The National Bowel Cancer Screening program uses the faecal occult blood test (FOBT) to detect hidden blood in bowel motions. People without symptoms aged 50, 55 and 65 are eligible to participate. From 1 July 2013, people turning 60 will be included; people turning 70 will be added in 2015.
Participants receive a test kit in the mail, take samples at home and mail them to a pathologist for analysis. If blood is detected, further tests may be required.
The Australian Government has committed to expanding the program to everyone 50 and over, every two years, but in the meantime we recommend you get tested every two years.
Your GP may provide you with a test kit, or can refer you to a pathology service, where the test will be carried out. Test kits are available on the internet and from some pharmacies and private health funds.However, you should discuss the use of FOBT kits with your GP before you use one.
You are at greater risk of bowel cancer, and should discuss your risk with your GP, if you have:
- a previous history of polyps in the bowel
- a previous history of bowel cancer
- chronic inflammatory bowel disease (eg. Crohn’s disease)
- a strong family history of bowel cancer
- increased insulin levels or type 2 diabetes
Click NEXT to find out more cancer screening advice
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