Early detection

Early detection saves lives

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Detected early, more than 90 per cent of bowel cancers can be cured.

We recommend all Australians aged 50 and over take a faecal occult blood test (FOBT) every two years. This is a simple test that can be done at home.

An FOBT is currently offered free to Australians aged 50, 55, 60, 64, 65, 70, 72 and 74 under the Australian Government’s National Bowel Cancer Screening Program. By 2020, it will be free for everyone aged 50 to 74 every two years.

How the Faecal Occult Blood Test works

The faecal occult blood test (FOBT) is a simple test you can do at home. The test looks for traces of blood in a bowel motion.

It involves taking samples from two or three bowel motions using a test kit. These are analysed at a pathology laboratory. If blood is detected, your GP is likely to refer you for a colonoscopy.

Most positive tests are not the result of cancer. However, if cancer is detected early through the program, the chances of it being cured are high.

The test is currently offered free through the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program to people aged 50, 55, 60, 64, 65, 70, 72 and 74. By 2020 the test will be offered free to everyone aged 50 to 74 every two years.

If you are younger than 50 and concerned about bowel cancer, or have a family history of bowel cancer, please talk to your doctor or call Cancer Council 13 11 20.

For more information on early detection of bowel cancer:

Cancer Council Australia – Detecting bowel cancer

Cancer Council Australia – Understanding your FOBT

Early Detection