Hello, I'm Professor Michael Kidd, Deputy Chief Medical Officer with the Australian Government, Department of Health and Aged Care. I'm speaking to you from Ngunnawal Dhawura, Ngunnawal Country. June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, and I'd like to talk to you today about the importance of doing a bowel cancer screening test that could save your life or the life of a loved one. Every two years, the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program mails a free test kit to Australians aged 50 to 74 years for them to complete at home. The most important thing about this non-invasive test is that it can find bowel cancer before you might even notice any signs or symptoms. Nobody likes this part, but doing the test is easier than you might think. You need to collect two tiny samples from two different bowel motions or poos using the tip of the collection tube, then return the samples in the supplied postage-paid envelope for testing. The test looks for minute traces of blood, which can be an early sign of bowel cancer. And we know that early detection is essential for successful treatment. And this simple test does exactly that. The good news is that more than 90% of bowel cancers can be successfully treated if found early. Unfortunately, current participation in the national bowel cancer screening program is only around 41% or less than half of all eligible Australians, and participation is even lower in some of our communities. Bowel cancer is the second deadliest cancer in Australia and the third most diagnosed cancer in our country, and much of this is preventable if we all do the screening test when it comes in the mail. So that's my message to you today. When you get your test kit, put it somewhere where you will remember to do it, and then do it as soon as possible. We know that age is the biggest risk factor for getting bowel cancer, so even if you're feeling fit and healthy, you should still do the test when you receive it in the mail. I encourage you to put your health and wellbeing first. Do the test. It could save your life. If you're outside of the program's target age range of 50 to 74 and have concerns about bowel cancer, talk to your GP who may recommend completing a similar type of Medicare-funded bowel cancer screening test. For further information on the National Bowel Cancer screening program, visit our website at health.gov.au.
Every 2 years the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program mails a free test kit to Australians aged 50 to 74 years for them to complete at home. The test looks for bowel cancer before you might even notice any signs or symptoms.
Early detection is essential for successful treatment. The good news is that 90% of bowel cancers can be successfully treated if found early. When you get your test kit, put it somewhere where you will remember to do it.
Find out more about National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.