According to the latest AIHW National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) Monitoring Report 2024 , there was a further decline in Program participation to 40% (2021: 40.9%).
6 million Australians aged 50-74 were invited to participate in the Program, yet 6-in-10 did not return their free bowel cancer screening test.
In 2022, 64,932 (5.7%) participants received a positive result, meaning blood was detected in the poo sample that is non-visible to the naked eye and required further investigation via colonoscopy.
However, only 13.5% were recorded as having received a colonoscopy within the recommended 30-day timeframe, down from 15.6% in 2021. Participants waited between 133 days and 197 days, depending on where they lived (2021: 119-235 days).
Bowel Cancer Australia has welcomed another milestone in its 6-year campaign, with the eligible screening age for the NBCSP being lowered from 50 to 45.
From 1 July 2024 eligible people aged 45-49 can opt-in and request their first bowel cancer screening test be mailed to them. The next test will automatically be mailed every 2 years after their last screening test is completed.
Each year over 15,300 Australians are diagnosed with bowel cancer, with 1 in 9 new bowel cancer cases occurring in people under age 50.
Bowel cancer is Australia’s second deadliest cancer, claiming over 5,300 lives each year.