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$10 million to boost bowel cancer screening participation

The Australian Government will invest $10 million in an advertising blitz to boost participation in the free and life-saving National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.

The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Former Minister for Health and Aged Care

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The Liberal National Government will invest $10 million in an advertising blitz to boost participation in the free and life-saving National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.

Cancer Council Australia will use TV, radio, social media and outdoor advertising throughout 2019 to help people better understand the benefits of bowel cancer screening and encourage more people to participate in a program that could save their life.

The campaign aims to create awareness about the benefits of early detection, prompt diagnosis and treatment.

This is the largest single investment in a national cancer-specific mass media campaign, reflecting the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program’s extraordinary capacity to save Australian lives.

Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related death in Australia with 17,000 people diagnosed each year.

From age 50, the risk of bowel cancer increases, with one in 11 men, and one in 15 women, developing bowel cancer before the age of 85.

Symptoms can often be silent, so screening is absolutely critical for early detection. Testing can even find the early warning signs even before bowel cancer develops.

Research shows that 90 percent of bowel cancers can be successfully treated through early detection, reducing the number of family, friends, and loved ones who die each year from the disease.

The free home test kit contains a full instruction booklet, a zip-lock bag, two flushable collection sheets, two sampling sticks and sterile collection tubes, two identification stickers for the collection tubes, two transportation tubes, and a prepaid envelope and checklist with which to return your samples.

Of the 3.2 million people invited to screen between January 2015 and December 2016 - 41 per cent participated in the program. This is a two per cent increase in the previous screening period.

Independent modelling by Cancer Council NSW shows that 59,000 lives will be saved between 2015 and 2040 at current rates of participation.

Increasing participation rates to 60 per cent could save more than 83,000 lives by 2040.

The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program was introduced by the Howard Government with initial funding in 2005-06, following three successful localised pilot projects and a plan to test national feasibility through an incremental roll-out.

In the 2014–15 Budget the Liberal National Government invested $95.9 million to fast track the expansion of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.

By the end of 2019 all Australians aged 50 to 74 will be invited to screen. This makes it an ideal time to invest communications funding into increase program participation.

We must get the message through to people that early detection of this cancer is vital in saving lives and protecting lives.

I encourage people aged 50 to 74 years to take the test to live a longer, healthier life and give peace of mind to their family and loved ones.

By commissioning Cancer Council to run the campaign, we partner with the largest and longest established cancer charity in the country, with a long history of working with us to establish and promote the program.

Our Government is able to provide unprecedented levels of support life-saving programs such as the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program because of our strong economic management.

For more information about the screening program go to


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