Closing the gap with bowel cancer screening
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have lower participation rates in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program. In 2018–2019, 27% of Indigenous Australian’s participated, compared with 43% of non-Indigenous Australians.
This means First Nations people are more at risk of having late-stage cancer by the time they are diagnosed which is much more difficult to treat successfully.
To address some of the barriers First Nations people face when trying to screen, we tried a different way of getting screening tests to them. Health care workers or doctors gave the test kits directly to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and explained how to do the test.
We trialled this alternate approach with 44 Indigenous health services across Australia. Run by the Menzies School of Health Research, it was found that this alternate way of distributing kits closed the participation gap. This alternative access model is now available more broadly.
Read the final report on the National Indigenous Bowel Screening Pilot.
Alternative access to kits model
The alternative access to kits model is helping remove barriers that prevent some people from participating in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.
We are phasing this model in from 31 October 2022. Learn more about the alternative access to kits model.
Learn more about how the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program alternative access model works, and links to culturally appropriate resources: