Bowel Screening Lifesaver Brochure

A 4 page DL brochure with simple facts about bowel cancer, screening and the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.

Page last updated: 18 November 2019 (this page is generated automatically and reflects updates to other content within the website)

PDF version: Bowel Screening Lifesaver Brochure (PDF 449 KB)

A simple bowel test could save your life.

The home test kit sent in the mail to 50–74 year olds is free, easy to do and can detect early signs of bowel cancer.

The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program

Doing the simple test could save your life. It’s easier than you might think— 1 million Australians do it each year.

From age 50, your risk of bowel cancer increases and sometimes the symptoms are silent.

That’s where the screening test comes in—50 to 74 year olds will be sent one in the mail to do at home.

The test checks for tiny traces of blood in your poo and it can detect early signs of the disease.

So don’t underestimate the power of your poo, it could save your life.

Why do the test?

Australia has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world—around 17,000 people get bowel cancer each year.

The simple test could improve your chance of a long, healthy life. It’s quick, clean and easy—collect two tiny samples of poo, put them in the post and you’re done.

Who should do the test?

Both men and women are at risk of bowel cancer. Testing early and regularly will reduce your risk.

Doctors recommend that 50–74 year olds with no symptoms do the test every two years to help detect bowel changes early when they are easier to treat.

Bowel cancer doesn’t just affect older people—from the age of 50 your risk of getting bowel cancer increases.

What is the test looking for?

The test checks for tiny traces of blood in your poo. Bowel cancer or polyps (small lumps) can grow in the bowel lining. Tiny amounts of blood can leak from these growths and can be found in poo. Not all polyps turn into cancer. Removing polyps reduces your risk of bowel cancer.

Symptoms

Bowel cancer can develop without any symptoms. This is why it is important to do your free test every two years. Symptoms can include:
  • blood in your poo or in the toilet bowl
  • a recent and persistent change in your toilet habit, such as looser poos, severe constipation and/or if you need to poo more often than usual
  • unexplained tiredness or weight loss
  • stomach pain.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it does not mean that you have bowel cancer, but it is very important that you talk to your doctor as soon as possible.

Bowel cancer can affect people under 50, so make sure all your family members and friends know these symptoms and talk to their doctor if they are concerned.

Take the test. The odds are in your favour. 90% of bowel cancers diagnosed early can be treated successfully.

More information


If you’re aged 50 to 74, look out for your kit in the mail.

For more information about the Program and to check when your kit is due go to www.cancerscreening.gov.au or call 1800 118 868.

For information in your language, phone the Translating and Interpreting Service:13 14 50 or visit www.cancerscreening.gov.au/translations