Australians ignoring bowel cancer screening
Despite Australia having one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world, two out of three people still reject invitations for a free screening test.
The faecal occult blood test (FOBT) is a simple test that can be done at home. An FOBT can detect bowel cancer at an early stage, when it will be easier to treat and cure.
Even worse, the new figures show that many people with positive test results are not seeing a GP for follow-up. Although participation rates in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program increased from 33.4% in 2012 to 36% in 2014, more than 30% of patients with a positive result for their faecal occult blood test (FOBT) did not see a GP for follow-up.
Of the patients with a positive FOBT result who underwent colonoscopy, one in 25 were found to have a confirmed or suspected cancer, and one in 11 had an adenoma – a non-cancerous tumour.
In total, the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program detected 748 bowel cancers among the 38,000 positive FOBT tests of 510,000 patients who took part in 2014.
Last Reviewed: 23/06/2015
Faecal occult blood test
Faecal occult blood test is a chemical test that can detect tiny traces of blood in the stool that may indicate the presence of bowel cancer or a precancerous polyp.
Bowel cancer prevention
Find out about steps you can take to help avoid bowel cancer, or at least catch it early on when cure is still possible.
Colorectal cancer does early screening help?
Researchers present data on the relationship between Colorectal cancer (CRC), also known as bowel cancer, it's screening history and the resulting incidence in Australia, this is what they found.
Bowel cancer - the second most common type of cancer affecting both men and women in Australia - is cancer that starts in the large bowel (colon) or rectum.
Colonoscopy: examination of the colon
A colonoscopy is an examination of the colon (large bowel), using a colonoscope a long, thin, flexible tube containing a camera and a light.