New campaign to detect bowel cancer

A new bowel cancer screening awareness campaign ‘a gift for living’ has been launched by the Coalition Government with the aim of boosting screening awareness in at risk groups.

The $95.9 million campaign will ensure Australians aged 50 to 74 would receive a free, at-home bowel cancer screening kit every two years by 2020 rather than 2034 as was planned under the previous Labor government.

Federal Member for Pearce, Christian Porter, said bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in Australia with approximately 80 Australians dying each week but only one third of Australians complete the testing kits sent to them.

“I encourage everyone in Pearce to complete and return their bowel cancer screening kit when they receive it as the more people that are screened, the more lives will be saved,” he said.

“The kit is simple and discreet to use in the privacy of your own home. We need more people in Pearce completing their testing kits as bowel cancer often has no symptoms and early detection saves lives.”

Mr Porter said previously people were only sent screening kits every five years between the age of 50 and 65, with nothing sent to those aged 66 to 74. The expansion of the programme to include the additional age groups of 70 and 74 began this year.

The expansion will be implemented in phases over a five year period between 2015 and 2020:
• 70 and 74 year olds have already commenced screening
• 72 and 64 year olds added in 2016-17
• 68, 58 and 54 year olds added in 2017-18
• 66 and 62 year olds added in 2018-19
• 56 and 52 year olds added in 2019-20.

The Howard Government introduced the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program in 2006 and this expansion delivers on a key 2013 election commitment.

For more information, visit Australia.gov.au/bowelscreening or call the information line on 1800 11 88 68.