More Aussies participating in bowel cancer screening

Bowel Cancer Australia

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Bowel Cancer Australia is pleased to see participation in the Government's National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) has risen slightly to 36%, up from 33.4% in the previous 12 months.
According to the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program: monitoring report 2013-2014, 510,000 completed tests were returned from the 1.4 million men and women invited to participate in the program.
State and territory participation rates ranged from a low of 25.4% in the Northern Territory to high of 39.4% in South Australia. New South Wales recorded 31.1%; Queensland 33.4%; Tasmania 37.6%; ACT 35.7%; Victoria 34.1% and Western Australia 35.9%.
Bowel Cancer Australia chief executive Mr Julien Wiggins said the report found the increase in participation was mainly due to people - those aged 55 and 60 - taking the test a second time.
"This reflects Bowel Cancer Australia's research which found 83% of people who did an at home test said they would do it again."
"It appears perception is worse than reality. The screening tests have come a long way and are much easier to use than the older style tests," he added.
"We'd like to see more men participate in screening as they are more likely to develop bowel cancer than women yet they continue to be less likely to participate in screening than women (33.6% v 38.5%)."
About 37,700 (7.5%) of the returned tests were positive, indicating the need for further investigations.
"It is critical for everyone who receives a positive test to follow-this up with a colonoscopy, but only 68% did. Screening can detect bowel cancer in its early stages when 90% of cases can be successfully treated," said Mr Wiggins.
Medical guidelines recommend screening every 1-2 years from age 50.
"Currently people aged 50, 55, 60, 65, 70 & 74 only are eligible to participate in the NBCSP. Everyone else is strongly encouraged to talk to their GP or pharmacist," said Mr Wiggins.
The release of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program: monitoring report 2013-2014 coincides with Bowel Cancer Awareness Month (1-30 June), a Bowel Cancer Australia initiative.
Over 15,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in Australia each year and sadly, around 4,000 die.
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