Free test saving Queensland lives

A free bowel screening test is one of the best ways to prevent bowel cancer and invest in a healthy future for yourself and your family.

Health experts reveal bowel cancer is the fourth most frequently diagnosed cancer and the second biggest cancer-related killer in Australia, but many of these deaths could be prevented.

To reduce the number of people impacted by this disease the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program sends out free bowel cancer screening kits to eligible people between the ages of 50 and 74.

The test kit is sent directly to a person’s Medicare-registered address and can be completed in the privacy of their own home.

If found early, Queensland Health Cancer Screening Branch Director, Paul Vardon said bowel cancer was one of the most treatable cancers, and screening is the best way to ensure early detection.

“Australia has some of the best cancer screening programs in the world but only 4 in 10 Queenslanders take advantage of the bowel cancer testing kit when it arrives in the post,” Mr Vardon said.

“In fact, more than 1 million kits have been sent out to Queenslanders and not even half have been returned for testing.

“People are busy and while we may have good intentions to complete the test, it can be easy to set aside when it arrives in the mail.

“It’s important to make time to do the test as soon as possible. Put it near the toilet so you don’t forget about it.

“The risk of bowel cancer increases with age, and it can develop without any obvious symptoms.

Paul Vardon said this quick and easy test could save your life.

“The bowel screening test looks for tiny traces of blood in your poo, which can be an indication of common conditions such as polyps or haemorrhoids, but it could be a sign of bowel cancer,” he said.

“Importantly, a positive result in the screening kit does not mean you have bowel cancer.

“Only 1 in 29 people are found to have bowel cancer after following up on a positive screening result.

“If you have an unused test sitting around at home, take a few minutes to complete it, and encourage your family and friends to do theirs too – it may just save their life.”

Importantly, if a test has expired or it was thrown away, a free replacement test can be requested from the National Cancer Screening Register.

Screening is free to all eligible people with a Medicare card and a postal address.

It is recommended that men and women aged 50 to 74 years old partake in the screening every two years.

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