Treatments and tests

Bowel cancer screening

The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program will send every Australian a free bowel screening test kit (external site) when they turn 50.

Currently you will also receive a kit at age 50, 54, 55, 58, 60, 64, 68, 70, 72 and 74 – with the program expanding in future years to test Australians every two years between the ages of 50 and 74.

The test is easy and quick to use, can be done in the privacy of your own home, and will help in the early detection of bowel cancer.

If you receive your kit in the mail, it is important that you complete the test and return it.

The program is based on testing Australians who have no symptoms of bowel cancer.

Benefit of bowel cancer screening

If bowel cancer is detected early, up to 90 per cent can be successfully treated.

The cause of bowel cancer is still unknown; however research has identified a number of factors that increase the risk of developing bowel cancer. These factors include:

  • age
  • previous history
  • chronic inflammatory bowel disease
  • family history of bowel cancer
  • immediate family with Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP) or Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer (HNPCC)
  • increased insulin levels and Type 2 diabetes.

Visit your GP if you have:

  • bleeding
  • pain
  • changes in bowel habits for more than four weeks
  • unexplained tiredness or rapid weight loss.

Acknowledgements

WA Cancer and Palliative Care Network


This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

See also

Bowel cancer screening program