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Bowel cancer screening from 45 starts today

Bowel Cancer Australia 2 mins read

Bowel cancer screening from 45 starts today

Australians aged 45-49 can now opt-in to the NBCSP


  • Bowel cancer screening age lowered from 50 to 45.
  • Since 2018, Bowel Cancer Australia has advocated for screening from age 45.
  • AIHW study found NBCSP participants diagnosed with bowel cancer had a 40% lower risk of dying from the disease than non-participants diagnosed with bowel cancer.


Monday 1 July, Sydney: Bowel Cancer Australia today welcomed another milestone in its 6-year campaign, with the lowering of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) age from 50 to 45.


1,716 Australians are diagnosed with early-onset bowel cancer each year, with people aged 40-49 accounting for 56 percent of new cases and 64 percent of deaths in those diagnosed under 50.


Bowel Cancer Australia CEO Julien Wiggins said: “Now an additional 1.6 million Australians aged 45-49 are eligible to request their first bowel cancer screening test by opting in to get the test mailed to them.”


“Their next screening test will automatically be mailed every 2 years after the last screening test has been completed,” he added.


Australians aged 50 to 74 will continue to receive a bowel cancer screening test in the mail every two years. All eligible people aged 45 to 74 can also ask their GP about getting a screening test.


The at-home bowel screening test looks for blood in poo that is non-visible to the naked eye in people who do not have any obvious symptoms of bowel cancer.


The presence of blood in poo may be due to conditions other than bowel cancer, such as medications, polyps, haemorrhoids, or inflammation of the bowel, but the underlying cause of the bleeding needs to be investigated by colonoscopy.


During the procedure, any pre-cancerous polyps can be identified and removed, thereby preventing them from becoming a cancer, or a diagnosis of bowel cancer confirmed.


According to the AIHW, people aged 50–69 who were diagnosed with a bowel cancer detected through the NBCSP between 2006 and 2012 had a 40% lower risk of dying from bowel cancer by 2015 than those with a bowel cancer who had not been invited to screen during the study period.i


Contact details:

For an interview with a medical expert or patient contact:
Stephanie Bansemer-Brown – Bowel Cancer Australia   |   0412 915 797


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