Advocacy & Policy
Bowel Cancer Australia is the leading voice of the bowel cancer community, driving ongoing access to evidence-based, high quality programs, services and treatments that deliver better patient outcomes.
From prevention and screening to prompt diagnosis and surgery, greater accessibility of treatment options to appropriate research funding, Bowel Cancer Australia advocates on all aspects of the disease.
Advocating for better patient outcomes and providing practical solutions remain at the heart of what we do, even if at times that means Bowel Cancer Australia is a lone voice in advocating for a disease people are reluctant to talk about.
Lifting the Lid on Advanced Bowel Cancer
Bowel Cancer Australia today released a new report highlighting the impact of advanced bowel cancer in the country.
Bowel cancer is the country's second biggest cancer killer, and more than 40,000 Australians are projected to die from the disease over the next 10 years.
Yet, funding for advanced bowel cancer does not match the burden of disease.
Bowel Cancer Challenge
More than a decade after it was first piloted and with a current participation rate of just 38 per cent, Bowel Cancer Australia is urging all political parties to consider revamping the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) to better serve those aged 50 and over.
The program's ability to save lives from the country's second largest cause of cancer deaths is proven, but its five yearly screening for just four ages (50, 55, 60 and 65) continues to be a cause of concern.
You're Never Too Young
You have bowel cancer - four words you don't expect to hear when you're young. Yet each year over 1,000 young Australians do.
It is a common misconception that bowel cancer is 'an old person's disease', but the reality is that you should never be told that you are too young to have bowel cancer.
Although a large majority of newly diagnosed bowel cancer cases occur in people aged 50 years and over, around 1 in 14 Australians diagnosed with bowel cancer are under the age of 50.
National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP)
Bowel Cancer Australia is represented on the Australian Government's National Bowel Cancer Screening Program Advisory Group and Communications Working Group, focusing on the roll out of the Program and the development of a national communications framework.
In 2006, the then Minister for Health, the Hon Tony Abbott MP, announced funding for Bowel Cancer Australia to roll-out the first ever national bowel cancer screening campaign, It's Crunch Time™, which promoted participation by eligible Australians in Phase I and II of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program. Read More
Bowel Cancer Blood & DNA Tests
In August 2014, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Cologuard, the first stool-based bowel cancer screening test that detects the presence of red blood cells and DNA mutations that may indicate the presence of certain kinds of abnormal growths that may be cancers such as bowel cancer or precursors to cancer.
In May 2014, Australian researchers presented at an international medical conference in Chicago, Digestive Diseases Week, that the ColoVantage Plasma blood test for bowel cancer could detect 65% of bowel cancer cases increasing to 73% for cancers that are stage II or higher.
Timely Access to Colonoscopy
Bowel Cancer Australia advocates for prompt access to diagnostic colonoscopy.
Clinically significant symptoms, such as rectal bleeding, require investigation via colonoscopy within 30 days.
Similarly, a positive faecal immunochemical test (FIT) / faecal occult blood test (FOBT) means blood, invisible to the naked eye, has been detected in the bowel movement which requires further investigation via colonscopy within 30 days.
Improved Access to Affordable Treatment Options
Bowel Cancer Australia advocates for improved access to affordable treatment options.
While screening is important for the prevention and early detection of bowel cancer, it is also important for health policy to recognise that bowel cancer patients require improved access to affordable treatment options.
Bowel Cancer Australia welcomed the 2013 Coalition Government's commitment to restore transparency, certainty and confidence to the process by which medicines are listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) – ensuring medicines are listed on the basis of advice from the independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.
Senate Inquiry into Access to Cancer Medicines
In the submission to the Senate Inquiry, Bowel Cancer Australia recommended greater affordability of, and access to, advanced bowel cancer treatments.
Cancer patients with advanced disease cannot afford to wait months or years for effective, affordable treatment options. Some patients and their families are faced with the decision of going into debt or mortgaging their homes to pay for high cost medications.
Bowel Cancer Australia has consistently called for the Federal Government to return to the process of automatically listing on the PBS any proven, effective bowel cancer treatments that have received a positive PBAC recommendation.
Get Tested - Unlock Your Treatment Options
The Get Tested - Unlock Lock Your Treatment Options campaign is an initiative of the International Colorectal Cancer Association, comprising 14 organisations from around the world.
"Biomarkers enable oncologists to create personalised, clinically proven treatment plans for patients right from the start in advanced bowel cancer, thereby optimising patients' chances of extended overall survival," said Professor Fortunato Ciardiello, Seconda Università di Napoli, Naples, Italy.
Biological and Biosimilar Medicines
A medicine made from living organisms, such as protein, bacteria or yeast, is known as a biological medicine.
Since the 1980s, hundreds of biological medicines have been approved for the treatment of diseases such as cancers, diabetes, heart attacks, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease and many more.
A biosimilar medicine is a very similar version of an already-approved biological medicine, in terms of its characteristics, quality, safety and efficacy.
Bowel Cancer Australia Atlas
Since 2009, Bowel Cancer Australia has been mapping bowel cancer data to a Local Government Area (LGA) level to help empower local communities in focusing attention on health behaviours that can be improved to reduce bowel cancer risk.
The Bowel Cancer Australia Atlas includes data on a number of bowel cancer risk factors such as smoking, high alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, obesity and type 2 diabetes, which is now increasingly recognised as an independent risk factor for bowel cancer. Read More
Clinical Practice Guidelines
Bowel Cancer Australia affiliated gastroenterologists, including Dr Cameron Bell - Chair of the Colonoscopy Surveillance Working Group, have contributed to the development of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Clinical Practice Guidelines for Surveillance Colonoscopy.
Dr Cameron Bell said the guidelines are intended for use by all practitioners and health workers who require information about surveillance colonoscopy in adenoma follow-up, following curative resection of bowel (colorectal) cancer, and for cancer surveillance in inflammatory bowel disease.
Bowel Cancer Research - Towards a National Cancer Research Plan
The Cancer Research Leadership Forum (CRLF) is an alliance of the national community-supported organisations that are the major non-government funders of cancer research in Australia.
It was formed in 2009 to enhance coordination of investment in research and collaboration between cancer charities. Current members are the Australian Cancer Research Foundation, Bowel Cancer Australia, Cancer Council Australia, Cure Cancer Australia Foundation, Leukaemia Foundation, Melanoma Institute Australia, National Breast Cancer Foundation and Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.
Australian Cancer Consumer Network
The Australian Cancer Consumer Network (ACCN) was launched at Parliament House in November 2014, forming the first time an umbrella organisation to represent cancer consumer groups.
The ACCN unites 30 cancer consumer groups for a bigger voice as well as to share information, experiences and action techniques. It is facilitated by Cancer Voices Australia.