A screening test could save your life
Published at: 07 Jun 2019
According to GV Health's Katie Emanuelli, just one in four people take up the National Bowel Cancer Screening Kit.
The screening program aims to test Australians aged 50 to 74 by the year 2020 it will be rolled out every two years.
Implemented by then Health Minister Tony Abbott in 2006, the program received further funding for acceleration in 2014.
According to Bowel Cancer Australia, it was estimated that when fully rolled out, about four million eligible Australians would be invited to screen each year.
The National Bowel Cancer Program has been phased in gradually.
Ms Emanuelli encouraged all people who received the kit to take up the test.
“If everyone did the bowel cancer screening kits who was invited to do so, by the year 2040 we would have saved 85 000 lives,” she said.
According to Bowel Cancer Australia, the Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) can detect small amounts of blood in bowel movements which leak from the cancer growth.
“It is the easiest medical test you can do and it can be done in the privacy of your own home for free,” Ms Emanuelli said.
The results are then sent back to you and your GP.
A negative result means blood has not been detected in your samples and it is recommended that you repeat a bowel cancer screening test every two years.
But if you develop any symptoms of bowel cancer between tests, see your GP immediately.
A positive result means blood has been detected in your samples.
If blood is detected, you should contact your GP immediately to discuss the result and obtain a referral for further investigation via colonoscopy within 30 days.
Bowel Cancer Australia recommends participating in screening appropriate to your personal level of risk.
Medical guidelines recommend people at average risk of bowel cancer screen using a faecal immunochemical test every two years from age 50.
Ms Emanuelli said those with a family history of bowel cancer should consult with their GP.
If you are ineligible for free screening but would like to purchase a test, visit the BowelScreen Australia webpage or call 1800 555 494.
To view a video of Katie Emanuelli discussing the importance of screening click here.