Bowel Cancer Awareness Month - June 2017

bowel cancer

June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month - a great time to promote bowel cancer screening and the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP). Importantly, if found early 9 out of 10 cases of bowel cancer can be successfully treated.

General Practice and the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program

The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program saves lives – but it can only work with the support of general practices. The evidence is clear that a recommendation from a primary healthcare provider is an important motivator for participation in bowel cancer screening.

How does the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program work?

The Program mails eligible 50 -74 year olds bowel screening kits to complete at home. An online eligibility calculator is available at

Why is bowel screening important?

  • Australia has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world - around 17,000 people are diagnosed each year.
  • If found early 9 out of 10 cases of bowel cancer can be successfully treated.
  • Around 9 out of 10 Australians diagnosed with bowel cancer are over 50 years old.

Get involved

2017 NBCSP Monitoring Report Released

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare recently released the 2017 NBCSP Monitoring Report. The report includes data on participation rates, including:

  • an overall participation rate of 39% for 2014 and 2015, up from 37% in the previous two year period
  • variable participation by jurisdiction – ranging from 29% in the Northern Territory to 46% in South Australia
  • lower participation for those living in remote and very remote areas and lower socio-economic areas
  • estimated participation rate for Indigenous Australians - 24%
  • higher participation for women than men (41% compared with 37%)
  • higher participation with increasing age, from 29% for people aged 50-54 to 53% for people aged 70-74

Based on the data available, the Report also notes that in 2015 about 41,000 Australians returned a positive screening test (blood detected). 70% of these people had reported a follow-up diagnostic assessment, with 1 in 29 diagnosed with a confirmed or suspected cancer and 1 in 8 having adenomas detected (which have the potential to become cancerous). This highlights the importance of promoting participation in the NBCSP.

Further information

Go to or email the Program at