If you’re 50 or over, you won’t want to miss out
We’re not scared, and you shouldn’t be either.
Kids LOVE toilet humour. Let’s take a lead from them and make it part of our conversation. Catching your next poo, may save your life.
If you are aged between 50-74 years of age, you may have received a free bowel screening test kit in the mail.
The Australian government launched the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program with the aim of reducing deaths from bowel cancer through early detection of the disease. Australia has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world, with 1 in 13 Australians developing bowel cancer during their lifetime. Your risk significantly increases from the age of 50.
The program when fully implemented, could save up to 500 lives each year.
Great news is, that if bowel cancer is detected early, 9 out of 10 cases can be treated successfully. This is why we want YOU to stop ignoring that bowel screening test kit sitting on your bench, and take action now.
The test is simple, once you’ve completed it, you’ll be asking yourself why you didn’t do it earlier. The test is quick, clean and easier than you think. The instructions are in the box and we have included a step by step video for you at the bottom of this blog post.
The bowel cancer screening test kit is for people who have no obvious symptoms.
I’m 50 years or over, why haven’t I received a free bowel cancer screening test in the mail?
The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program invites people between 50-74 to participate. By 2020, all Australians will be offered free screening every 2 years.
As the program is still being rolled out, those turning 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70, 72, 74 in 2019, will receive a free kit.
If you are not eligible this year and would like to do a bowel cancer screening test, you can purchase a kit from your local chemist for approx. $40.
If you were sent a test kit in the mail but have misplaced it, you can call 1800 118 868 to request a replacement free of charge. You will need to provide your medicare no.
What is the test and what they looking for?
The test is an immunochemical Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT). The test involves taking tiny samples of poo, which are then tested in a pathology laboratory.
The FOBT can detect tiny traces of blood in the poo, which may not be visible to the naked eye. These tiny traces of blood may come from bowel polyps (a growth of the bowel lining) or bowel cancer. Your results will be sent to your nominated GP.If your test is positive, it doesn’t mean you have cancer or polyps, as there could be other reasons, but it is important to see your GP to organise a colonoscopy for further investigation – to rule cancer out.
If you have a negative result, there is no need to follow up with your GP. You can repeat the test in another 2 years time.
Should I do the bowel cancer screening test if I have symptoms?
If you have symptoms such as bleeding in bowel motions, unexplained weight loss or tiredness or a persistent change in bowel habits, it is important that you make an appointment to see your GP. Your GP may suggest having a colonoscopy as it is the gold standard for assessing bowel polyps and excluding bowel cancer.
When would you consider having a colonoscopy?
If you have symptoms as mentioned above, and some people with a strong family history of bowel cancer are also recommended to have colonoscopy instead of the poo test (FOBT). You will require a referral from your GP for a colonoscopy.
As gastroenterologists, our goal is to see a marked reduction in the rate of bowel cancer in the community. Most cases of bowel cancer can be prevented with screening. However, currently only 40% of the Australian population at risk of bowel cancer is undergoing screening. We hope to work closely with you and your GP in preventing this disease.
EARLY detection is the key to a positive outcome.
Here’s a handy step by step video of how to do the bowel cancer screening test kit.