Bowel screening during COVID-19

The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program is still operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. However there might be some delays, and you might see your doctor online or by phone instead of face to face. Read about what COVID-19 means for the program.

If you have any concerns about bowel cancer or if you have symptoms, contact your GP or specialist straight away.

Bowel screening is still available

We are still sending bowel screening invitations, reminders and free test kits in the mail.

If you already have a test kit at home, do the test. It will be processed as usual and your results sent to you. Find out how to do the test.

If you were expecting a kit and it hasn’t arrived, or if your kit has expired, call our contact centre for a replacement.

If your screening result is positive

If you receive a positive screening test result, it does not necessarily mean you have cancer. But it does need further investigation.

Talk to your GP about whether you should complete a follow-up test, including whether you need referral for a colonoscopy.

As a first step, call your GP – you might be able to have your appointment via telehealth. Many GPs offer this service to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

If you need a colonoscopy

The COVID-19 pandemic is straining the health system, so there might be delays before you can get a colonoscopy. 

Speak to the specialist you’ve been referred to for advice.

You might have to go on a waiting list. But a small delay is likely to be very low risk for people who are not showing symptoms, as most cancers are slow growing.  

If you are awaiting a colonoscopy or any other follow-up investigation, and you experience any new symptoms, contact your GP or specialist straight away. 

Find out more about what's involved in having a colonoscopy by reading our brochure or visiting the clinical care standards web page.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test result

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, or have recently had a positive COVID-19 test, call your GP to discuss. You might be able to have your appointment via telehealth.

Once your health authority has cleared you to leave your home, you can complete your test kit and post it in the reply-paid envelope.

Contact

National Cancer Screening Register contact

Contact the National Cancer Screening Register to update your contact details or if you have questions about either the National Bowel Cancer or National Cervical Screening Programs. You can call between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, except national public holidays, from anywhere in Australia.

View contact

Last updated: 
8 February 2021

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