Don't throw out the bowel cancer screening test

The Government has stepped up to the plate in the prevention of Bowel Cancer and has been sending out free, at home, Bowel Cancer screening tests to eligible Australians but so far, two thirds of people are throwing them away rather than taking them.  Currently, Australians aged 50, 55, 60 70 and 74 are eligible for an at-home bowel cancer screening test, and it is expected to save up to 90,000 lives in Australia over the next forty years the research is showing, but this relies on people taking the test.  Would you take a free at-home bowel cancer screening test if it came to your home?

The test, called a faecal occult blood test (FOBT) is a simple test you can do at home that looks for traces of blood in a bowel motion. It involves taking samples from two or three bowel motions using a test kit. These are analysed at a pathology laboratory. If blood is detected, further tests may be conducted.    Health Minister Sussan Ley says it is a high priority and that by  2020, all Australians aged 50 to 74 would receive a free, at home bowel cancer screening kit every two years.

When you are 50, 55, 60 70 and 74, you will be sent an invitation to screen from the Australian Government, which will include an FOBT kit. All you have to do is complete the test, then put in an envelope and send it back.  The most important part of the message is that for the success rates of the program to be high, people must complete the tests, say the Cancer Council representatives.

Health Minister Sussan Ley said new fast tracking of the screening program means all Australians aged 50 to 74 would receive a free, at home bowel cancer screening kit every two years by 2020.

Ad. Article continues below.

“The kit is simple and discreet to use in the privacy of your own home,” she said.

“We need more people completing their testing kits as bowel cancer often has no symptoms and early detection saves lives.”

Bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is the second biggest cause of cancer death in Australia.

It can occur in any part of the colon or rectum, either growing from the inner lining of the bowel or from small growths on the bowel wall called adenomas or polyps.

Ad. Article continues below.

Undetected, bowel cancer can spread into the wall of the bowel, the lymph nodes (glands) and then to other organs.

If you are 50 or over, you are at higher risk. But if detected early, 90% of bowel cancers are cured.

Have you received one of these kits in the mail?  Did you complete it?  Would you complete it if you received one?