Bowel cancer screening eligibility now 45

Bowel Cancer Australia

People aged 45-49 now eligible to request a free screening test as announced in 2024-25 Federal Budget

  • Over 1.6 million Australians aged 45-49 are now eligible to participate in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) on an opt-in basis.
  • Since 2018, Bowel Cancer Australia has advocated for screening from age 45.
  • People aged 40-49 account for 56% of new cases and 64% of deaths in those diagnosed under 50.

Wednesday 15 May, Sydney: Bowel Cancer Australia has welcomed another milestone in its 6-year campaign, with the Australian Government lowering eligibility for bowel cancer screening from age 50 to 45, as announced in the Federal Budget.

From 1 July 2024, an additional 1.6 million Australians aged 45-49 will be eligible to request a screening test from the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program. Once a person aged 45-49 opts-in to the Program, they will receive a screening test every two years.

Over the past three decades, bowel cancer rates have been increasing in people under age 50, both in Australia and globally.

1,716 Australians are diagnosed with early-onset bowel cancer each year, with people aged 40-49 accounting for 56 percent of new cases and 64 percent of deaths in those diagnosed under 50.

Bowel Cancer Australia CEO Julien Wiggins said: “We have been advocating tirelessly for the lowering of the screening age in response to the increasing rates of bowel cancer in younger people.”

We thank our dedicated and passionate advocates for their ongoing support of our campaign, along with members of the recently established Parliamentary Friends of Bowel Cancer.”

The Budget announcement follows updated clinical practice guidelines recommending a lowering of the bowel cancer screening start age which were endorsed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in October 2023.

The updated clinical practice guidelines also recommend people aged 40-44 can request screening via their healthcare professional prior to receiving their first NBCSP invitation.

/Public Release.