The American Cancer Society (ACS) has updated guidelines for those at average risk of bowel cancer to begin screening from age 45 (previously age 50), in response to the increasing rates of the disease in young and middle-aged populations.
A major analysis conducted by the ACS, found people born in 1990 have double the risk of colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer compared to those born in 1950.
Experts have concluded more lives will be saved if bowel cancer screening begins at age 45 for people at average risk of developing the disease.
Screening can be done annually using an at-home faecal immunochemical test (FIT) (bowel cancer screening test – i.e. BowelScreen Australia) or once every ten years through colonoscopy.
To successfully complete the screening process, the new guidelines stress that a positive FIT must be followed up by timely colonoscopy.
The 2018-19 Federal Budget will provide $35 million over four years for a national partnership with State and Territory governments to fund the follow-up of people who have received a positive at-home bowel cancer screening test result and are not recorded as having attended a follow-up appointment with a health professional.
Between January 2015 and December 2016, 3.2 million people were invited to participate, but only 1.3 million (40.9%) took up the offer and completed the test.
However, of those who received a positive screen, only 68% reported having a follow-up diagnostic assessment.
Three weeks prior to Bowel Cancer Awareness Month (June 1 – 30), the 2018 annual National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) monitoring report has been released.
Since the program began in August 2006, about 4.4 million NBCSP screening tests have been completed.
New data released by the Australian Institute of Health and Wellness (AIHW) today revealed on average, only 4-in-10 people (40.9%) who received a taxpayer-funded test from the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) in the mail used it during 2015-16.
Participation varied from as low as 28.5% in the Primary Health Network area of the Northern Territory to 49% in Gippsland, Victoria.
By comparison, participation in the national breast and cervical screening programs averaged around 55%, but participation in bowel cancer screening continues to lag.
On the 18th of February, outback runner Jenna Brook will begin her Running for Bums challenge, a 4500-kilometre journey that will take her from the South East Cape of Tasmania to the tip of Cape York in Queensland.
“While running more than 100 marathons in just 4 months is a daunting prospect, it is made somewhat easier by being in aid of Bowel Cancer Australia and helping to raise awareness of Australia's second biggest cancer killer along the way,” said Jenna.