Cancer Council Australia

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Bowel cancer screening



Bowel (or colorectal) cancer causes the second highest number of cancer deaths in Australia after lung cancer. However, around 90 per cent of bowel cancer cases are cured if detected early.

Cancer Council Australia recommends that Australians aged 50 and over complete a faecal occult blood test (FOBT) every two years. FOBT is the most effective population screening tool for detecting early signs of bowel cancer.

The Australian Government’s National Bowel Cancer Screening Program currently provides a free FOBT kit and pathology to all Australians aged 50, 55, 60, 64, 65, 70, 72 and 74. Cancer Council urges all eligible Australians to participate.

The program will be fully implemented by 2020, inviting all Australians aged 50 to 74 to screen every two years with a home FOBT. The Government’s screening website has a timetable for the program’s expansion.

For more program information, call the government Information Line on 1800 118 868 (9am - 5pm across Australia).

Not yet eligible for the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program?

If you are not yet eligible for the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program but aged 50 or over, you should still have an FOBT every two years. This can be arranged through your doctor.

If you have symptoms, a family history or are concerned about bowel cancer, speak to your GP about your options.

For more information on bowel cancer screening, call the Cancer Council 13 11 20 or check our National Cancer Prevention Policy.


Additional Info

Cancer Council SA sells ‘ColoVantage Home’ FOBT kits for $30 or $20 for pensioners or health care card holders.

The price includes the test kit, all pathology costs, postage and handling and a set of simple instructions. The kit will be posted to you within a fortnight of receiving your order.

A private health fund rebate may be available for your purchase. To make a claim you will require the receipt sent to you from Cancer Council SA to take to your health fund.

Purchase a kit here.

For more information


This page was last updated on: Wednesday, July 15, 2015

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