June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

Bowel cancer is Australia’s second deadliest cancer – yet is one of the most treatable cancers when detected early! 

The risk of bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, increases with age but it does not discriminate and can affect people of all walks of life, all ages and all genders.

This June, Bowel Cancer awareness month here in Australia, we are encouraging you to take part in the Bowel screening program if you are eligible. Bowel screening truly does save lives!

Who can screen?

Healthy individuals without any obvious symptoms of bowel cancer aged between 50 and 74, every two years.

The Government is considering lowering this age to 45 to be in line with clinical guidelines but in the meantime, you can visit your doctor and request a Medicare-funded kit if you are aged between 45 and 49.


With a very simple at-home test kit.

The test looks for traces of blood in your poo. You are required to obtain samples from two separate poos. Don’t worry, the test comes with very clear instructions and Cancer Council Victoria provides a helpful how-to as well. 

You should receive your kit within the first six months of your 50th birthday. It will arrive at the address listed on your medicare card. You will continue to receive the test in the mail every two years until your 74th birthday, so make sure your details are kept up to date!


The Bowel screening program is incredibly important as it detects bowel cancer in the early stages. The earlier bowel cancer is detected, the more likely it is to be successfully treated. More than 90% of bowel cancers are successfully treated when detected early. The screening can also detect polyps and growths before they develop into cancer.

What happens after the screening?

When you receive your test results, they will either say they are negative or positive. If your result is negative, you do not have to take any further action and you will receive your next test in two years.

If you receive your test results that say they were positive this means that blood was found in the samples sent to the labs. This does not mean you have cancer as the blood can have other causes but it does mean that this should be investigated.

You will be encouraged to make an appointment with your GP who will organise follow-up tests, such as a colonoscopy, to determine the cause of the positive result.

Bowel cancer often develops without symptoms, but when symptoms are present it is important to act quickly. If you have any of the below symptoms, please make an appointment with your GP to investigate the cause.

  • A recent and persistent change in bowel habits, (more frequent, severe constipation, or frequent looser poos.)
  • Stomach pain
  • Unexplained weight loss and tiredness

Remember, when Bowel Cancer is one of the most treatable types of cancer when detected early.

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