Set your location
Clear Selection

How we help

Bowel cancer screening saves lives - the proof is in

Screening is the best way to detect early signs of bowel cancer

Bowel Cancer Screening Saves Lives | Cancer Council

Every day, 42 Australians are diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Every day, Cancer Council is working to save 84,000 lives from bowel cancer by 2040 through increased participation in the National Bowel Screening Campaign.

Bowel cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in Australia, and we have one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world.

Screening is one of the most effective way to detect the early signs of bowel cancer using a simple, at-home test kit. When found early, over 90% of bowel cancers can be successfully treated.

We knew that a screening program that identified those at risk of bowel cancer early would reduce the need for invasive and costly treatment and ultimately save lives."

Professor James St John
Honorary Senior Associate, Cancer Council Victoria

Cancer Council has a long history of playing a critical role in bowel cancer prevention dating back to the 1970s. Thanks to over 40 years of research, advocacy and community engagement, bowel cancer death rates are in fact positioned to plummet over the next 25 years.

In 2019, Cancer Council delivered the National Bowel Cancer Screening Campaign on behalf of the Australian government.

This campaign was built on previous campaigns’ learnings and was extremely successful. It was directly responsible for an additional 93,000 bowel cancer screening kit returns. This means we were able to prevent 860 bowel cancer cases and an incredible 470 lives will be saved over the next 50 years.

It will also save $46 million in direct healthcare costs from 2019 to 2070 and will deliver a huge return on investment of $6.17 per dollar invested.

The evidence base from the 2019 bowel campaign will be critical in informing future work and ensuring we can continue to save even more lives from bowel cancer.

Cancer Council is proud to have a demonstrated track record of working with the Australian government on bowel cancer initiatives. Together, we’ve increased participation in bowel cancer screening and saved lives. We’ve conducted research and we coordinated the development of the national clinical guidelines that underpin the bowel cancer screening program.

I had absolutely no symptoms of cancer or discomfort or anything at all. There was just nothing. Life was just carrying on as per normal. I would certainly recommend everyone, absolutely everyone do that test. "

Brian Pearcey
Diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer

Today, increasing participation in bowel cancer screening is the best way to improve outcomes and save lives and it is a core goal of Cancer Council. Our research has shown that 84,000 lives could be saved by 2040 if participation can be increased from 4 in 10 to 6 in 10 people.

Every day we’re getting closer to a cancer free future.

Order your free bowel screening test kit from the Australian Government today

Our prevention stories

Learn more about how we are helping to stop cancer before it starts.