National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP)

Bowel cancer screening for Australians aged 50 to 74 by 2020Bowel Cancer Australia Advocacy Australian Government 770


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.

The It's Crunch Time™ campaign featured cricket legend Max Walker AM.

In the 2014 Federal Budget, the Abbott Government announced an additional $95.9 million over four year to accelerate implementation of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program to all Australians aged 50 to 74 years by 2020. 

This will ensure the Program will become consistent with the National Health and Medical Research Council clinical practice guidelines, which recommend screening every 1 to 2 years from age 50.

It is estimated that when fully rolled out, approximately four million eligible Australians will be invited each year.

This will significantly reduce the burden of bowel cancer on Australians and their families.
 
The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program is being phased in gradually.  The table below outlines the start dates of each phase and eligible ages.
 

Phase Start Date End Date Eligible Ages
1 7 August 2007 30 June 2008 55 and 65
2 1 July 2008 30 June 2011(a) 50, 55 and 65
2(b) 1 July 2011 30 June 2013 50, 55 and 65
3 1 July 2013 ongoing 50, 55, 60 and 65
3 1 January 2015   50, 55, 60, 65, 70 and 74
3 1 January 2016   50, 55, 60, 64, 65, 70, 72 and 74
3 1 January 2017   50, 54, 55, 58, 60, 64, 68, 70, 72 and 74
3 1 January 2018   50, 54, 58, 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70, 72 and 74
3 1 January 2019   50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70, 72 and 74
(a) Eligible birthdates, and thus invitations, ended on 31 December 2010.
(b) Ongoing NBCSP funding commenced.

Note: The eligible population for all pHase 2 and 3 start dates incorporates those turning the target ages from 1 January of that year, onwards.

For further information regarding eligible ages and the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, please contact 1800 118 868.

For people not yet eligible to receive a free bowel cancer screening test as part of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, talk to your GP or pharmacist about how to purchase a BowelScreen Australia® test.
 
Alternatively to purchase a test online, please visit the BowelScreen Australia® webpage or call 1800 555 494.   
 
Bowel Cancer Australia NBCSP test kit mailbox
 

 
Bowel Cancer Screening Petition 2011
5,000 signatures within six weeks

Bowel Cancer Australia Advocacy 770new

Elissa's mother was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2010.  This was the start of a journey for Elissa's family that she would not wish upon anyone.  Having someone you love diagnosed with any form of cancer is a shock, but what further compounded the news was that bowel cancer is essentially a preventable disease if detected early.

Bowel cancer will affect around 1 in 12 Australians in their lifetime.

Research has shown that survival rates increase significantly when bowel cancer is detected and treated early.  In the 2008 National Bowel Cancer Screening Program Monitoring Report, the majority (58%) of confirmed cancers were in the earliest stage.  Despite this, in December 2010 the Federal Government allowed this lifesaving Program to lapse.  At the time, the Program provided free one-off screening for people turning 50, 55 or 65.

Australia was without the Program for over 100 days.  The then Minister for Health and Ageing, the Hon Nicola Roxon MP, recognised the benefits of screening, stating that ‘early screening for bowel cancer has the potential to prevent as many as 2,000 deaths every year’1 and that ‘the rolled gold clinical standard would be to commence screening at 50 and to do that every two years thereafter’.2

With the support of Bowel Cancer Australia, Elissa undertook to organise the collection of signatures for a petition calling on the House of Representatives to do all in its power to ensure the implementation of a comprehensive National Bowel Cancer Screening Program - screening at least every two years for people aged 50 and over, together with a public awareness campaign informing people of the purpose and relevance of screening for this preventable disease.

Elissa knows first-hand the impact a bowel cancer diagnosis has on a family and is passionate about making a difference by ensuring the NBCSP continues.

Over 5,000 signatures were collected within six weeks and the Petition was presented to the the Opposition Health Minister, Peter Dutton MP and it was subsequently tabled in the House of Representatives.

Bowel Cancer Australia representatives were invited to appear before the Petitions Committee at a public meeting in 2013 to discuss the petition and the then Minister for Health and Ageing's response. 

[1] The Hon Nicola Roxon MP, Minister for Health & Ageing, Media Release, 8 May 2008.
[2] Hansard, House of Representatives, 22 November 2010 page 3173.

 

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