National Bowel Cancer Screening Program

This program aims to reduce deaths from bowel cancer by detecting early signs of the disease. If found early, more than 90% of cases can be successfully treated. Eligible Australians aged 45 to 74 can do a free test at home every 2 years. Learn about the program and how to do the test.

Learn about the program

Understand why it’s important to have regular bowel screening tests.

Doing a bowel screening test

Find out what’s involved in doing a bowel screening test.

Understand what your result means

Learn what your bowel screening result means and what happens next.

Kit access for healthcare providers

Healthcare providers can now bulk order kits to issue to eligible patients.

Lowered eligible age for bowel screening

From 1 July 2024, people aged 45 to 49 can join the program and screen for free. You can request your first free kit by submitting the webform or calling 1800 627 701. All eligible people aged 45 to 74 can also ask their doctor about getting a kit.

Learn more about the change

Aged 45 to 49 and want a kit? Overdue for screening, need a replacement kit or form?

Request your kit Download a participant details form

I want to

  • update my address or contact details
  • change my communication preferences (digital or mail)
  • find out when I will get my kit
  • opt out or delay my screening.

Self-serve at the National Cancer Screening Register Participant Portal, complete a webform or call 1800 627 701.

We get your address from Medicare. You can also update it on the Services Australia website or by calling 132 011.

Contact the register

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Bowel cancer screening can save your life. When it's detected early, non-native ten cases can be treated successfully. The chance of getting bowel cancer increases with age. That's why Australians aged between 45 and 74 can screen with a free national bowel cancer screening program every two years. People have done the test, say it's quick, clean and easier than they expected.

You'll receive an envelope in the mail that will include everything you need to do the test, including your participant details. Form two flushable toilet liners, two labeled collection tubes, a ziplock bag, a reply paid envelope, and easy to follow instructions. The test is looking for invisible traces of blood in your poo, which could be a sign of cancer or a pre-cancerous growth.

All you need to do is collect two tiny samples from two separate tubes. Collect the two samples as close together as possible. This can be on the same day, the next day, or as soon as you can. Take one collection tube and write your name, date of birth and the date you are taking the sample on the white label.

Place it within easy reach of the toilet doorway and flush the toilet. Then take one of the flushable toilet liners and lay it over the water in the toilet bowl. This will catch your poo. Once you've done a poo, the next step is to open the collection tube by twisting the green cap. Drag the tip of the stick through the poo.

You only need a tiny sample smaller than a grain of rice. Put the stick back into the collection tube and click the lid shut. Make sure you don't open it again. You can now flush the toilet as normal. The toilet liner is biodegradable. Place the tube into the Ziploc bag and store it somewhere cool. A fridge is ideal, but do not freeze the sample when you're ready to take your next sample.

Repeat the process using the second collection tube. This can be on the same day, the next day, or as soon as you can. Once you're done, seal the Ziploc bag with the two tubes in it and put the bag in the fridge. Now you're ready for the final step. Fill out your participant details form, then put it in the reply paid envelope along with a Ziploc bag containing your two samples.

Make sure you read the checklist on the back of the envelope before sealing it on the envelope on the front, and write your name and address on the back. Now all you need to do is mail the samples within 24 hours if you can. Postage is free. The samples can be affected by heat, so make sure you don't leave them in a hot car or direct sunlight.

For this reason, it's best if you can drop them to your local post office as soon as possible after they remove from the fridge. If you do have to use an Australia Post mailbox, please post them in the cooler part of the day. Your samples will be sent to the laboratory and your results will be mailed to you in around two weeks.

If you receive a negative result, this means that no blood was found in your samples. You won't need to do anything else until your next test in two years time. However, if you develop symptoms in the meantime, talk to your doctor if you receive a positive test result. This means that traces of blood will found in your samples.

This could be due to conditions other than cancer, and it's important to make an appointment with your doctor to investigate. If you have questions about how to do the test, call one 809 3098.

How to do the free test

Bowel cancer screening can save your life. Watch the video and find out how to do the test.

Find out how to do the test

Bowel Screening Test Kit Helpline

1800 930 998

Contact the Test Kit Helpline for help doing the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program test. They will talk you through it, step by step.

For health professionals

Access kits for your patients

Find out how to bulk order and issue kits to patients during an appointment.

Your role in the program

Find out how you can support and encourage participation in the screening program.

Managing patients not suitable for the program

Find out who may not be suitable to participate in the bowel cancer screening program.

Latest news

Public resources

Health sector resources

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National Bowel Cancer Screening Program – How to do the free test

Eligible Australians aged 45 to 74 can do the free National Bowel Cancer Screening Program test. When found early, nine out of ten cases can be treated successfully. So, do the free test as soon as you get it in the mail – it could save your life.
Date last updated:

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