Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in Australia (after lung cancer) and while it kills more Australians each year than breast or prostate cancer, early detection through screening can improve survival rates.
BowelScreen Australia® was launched nationally in 2010 as a collaboration between Bowel Cancer Australia and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, making bowel screening more accessible through community pharmacies across Australia.
“Community pharmacists, as the most accessible healthcare providers, are ideally placed to take an active role in the delivery of preventative health initiatives such as this important screening program,” Paul Sinclair, community pharmacist and National Councillor of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia said.
BowelScreen Australia® recommends bowel cancer screening every 1 to 2 years for average risk patients. These include men and women from age 50 with no symptoms; and with no personal or family history of bowel cancer or polyps.
“Bowel cancer claims the lives of 84 Australians every week, making it our second biggest cancer killer. Yet it is one of the most preventable, treatable and beatable of cancers, particular when caught early.” Julien Wiggins, CEO, Bowel Cancer Australia said.
“The aim of this community program is to find any polyps or to find cancer early when it is easier to treat and cure, ultimately saving lives.” Mr Wiggins said.
If you have current symptoms or a personal or/family history of bowel cancer you should speak to your GP.
BowelScreen Australia® tests can be purchased from your local community pharmacy. It is completed at home and returned by post for analysis. The results are sent back you and a nominated GP. An annual reminder is provided to customers to visit their local pharmacy for re-screening.
Positive results from bowel screening programs do not confirm the presence of bowel cancer but do indicate the presence of blood that may be invisible to the naked eye in your bowel movement. You should contact your GP immediately to discuss the result and obtain a referral for further investigation via colonoscopy within 30 days.
Screening is recommended every 1-2 years from age 50.
Visit the BowelScreen Australia® website to locate your nearest participating pharmacy.