26 September 2023

Health concern over poor bowel test take-up

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Queensland Health is calling on the public to take a free bowel screening test as one of the best ways to prevent bowel cancer.

Director of the Cancer Screening Branch, Paul Vardon said health experts had revealed that bowel cancer was the fourth most frequently diagnosed cancer and the second biggest cancer-related killer in Australia.

“However, many of these deaths can be prevented,” Mr Vardon said.

“The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program sends out free bowel cancer screening kits to eligible people between the ages of 50 and 74. The test kit is sent directly to a person’s Medicare-registered address and can be completed in the privacy of their own home.”

He said if found early, bowel cancer was one of the most treatable cancers, and screening was the best way to ensure early detection.

“Australia has some of the best cancer screening programs in the world, but only four in 10 Queenslanders take advantage of the bowel cancer testing kit when it arrives in the post,” Mr Vardon said.

“In fact, more than a million kits have been sent out to Queenslanders and not even half have been returned for testing.”

He said it was important to make time to do the test as soon as possible — “put it near the toilet so you don’t forget about it”.

“The risk of bowel cancer increases with age, and it can develop without any obvious symptoms, so this quick and easy test could save your life,” Mr Vardon said.

Information about the free National Bowel Cancer Screening Program can be accessed on this PS News link.

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