Bowel cancer screening starts this week
The national bowel cancer screening program begins on 7 August, and people who turn 55 or 65 years of age between May 2006 and June 2008 will be sent a bowel cancer screening kit in the mail.
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7 August 2006
The national bowel cancer screening program will begin this week.
From today, people turning 55 or 65 years of age between May 2006 and June 2008 will be sent a bowel cancer screening kit in the mail. Those people involved in the Bowel Cancer Screening Pilot Program, between November 2002 and June 2004, will also be included.
The first kits will be sent this week to eligible people in Queensland, followed by people in NSW from 14 August and Victoria towards the end of the month. The program will be progressively rolled out in other states and territories during the coming months. This phase of the program will run until 30 June 2008 with more than one million people to receive kits.
Bowel cancer kills around 90 Australians every week, but if it is detected in its early stages it can be successfully treated.
Bowel cancer screening test kits will be delivered by mail and participants will need to take two faecal samples using a simple but highly effective test, and mail the completed kit, in a reply paid envelope, to a pathology laboratory for analysis.
The kits, known as Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) kits, detect minute traces of blood in the faeces that could be an indication of bowel cancer. People with a positive result will be encouraged to see a GP for referral to further clinical services such as colonoscopy.
The Howard Government committed more than $43 million for this important health program and will meet the cost of any follow-up medical services, including colonoscopy, delivered through the private sector via the Medicare Benefits Schedule. States and territories will support the delivery of colonoscopy and treatment through the public sector.
The program is being phased in gradually to help ensure that health services, such as colonoscopy and treatment services, are able to meet any increased demand generated by the program.
For information go to: www.cancerscreening.gov.au
For more information call Mr Abbott's office on ph 02 6277 7220
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