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How to tick bowel screening off your to-do list

September 28, 2020


Cancer Council Australia

How to tick bowel screening off your to-do list

This could be the most important task on your to-do list 

Since lockdown, many of us have struggled to juggle life’s challenges and manage our to-do lists amidst the changing restrictions. While there’s lots going on around us, it’s important to remember that some tasks are too valuable to be ignored, like completing your bowel cancer screening test. 

If you’re aged 50-74, this home screening test kit will land in your mailbox every two years courtesy of the Australian Government. This blue and white envelope contains everything you need to screen for bowel cancer in the safety of your own home. With most of us spending more time at home than ever before, now is the perfect time to find your test and complete it. 

Now is the time to tick bowel screening off your to-do list

Less than 43 per cent of eligible people completed this lifesaving test last year. The test is easy, safe and hygienic. We’ve been told that staying at home saves lives, staying at home and completing the bowel screening test could save yours – don’t delay because of COVID-19

The best way to reduce your risk of bowel cancer 

Tragically bowel cancer takes the lives of around 100 Australians each week; it is the second biggest cause of cancer death in Australia. And if you’re aged 50 and over, your risk of developing bowel cancer is greater. 

The good news is that over 90% of bowel cancers can be treated successfully if found early. That’s why this home screening test is so valuable, it gives you the best chance of finding bowel cancer early. It could save your life.  

How to do the test 

Bowel screening home test kit includes Participant Details form, two flushable toilet liners, two labelled collection tubes, a Ziplock bag, a Reply-Paid envelope and instructions.

The envelope contains everything you need to complete the test in your home - instructions, a flushable toilet liner, collection tube and stick, a sanitary zip lock bag and reply paid envelope. There are four simple steps to follow: 

 STEP 1 – prepare  

  • Write your details on one of the collection tubes.  
  • Put the flushable paper toilet liner in the toilet bowl. 

STEP 2 – collect  

  • Poo onto the paper. 
  • Open the tube and scrape the tip of the stick into the poo to get a tiny sample. Smaller than a grain of rice is OK.  
  • Put the stick back into the collection tube and click the lid shut. Shake the tube up and down. 

STEP 3 – Store and repeat  

  • Place the tube into the ziplock bag and store the sample. 
  • Repeat steps 1-3 with the second collection tube when you next do a poo.  

STEP 4 – Send 

  • Put the participant details form and the two collection tubes (in the sealed zip lock bag) into the reply paid envelope. Post the envelope. 
How to do the test - National Bowel Cancer Screening Program

Put your mind at rest – bowel screening is safe to do 

Doing the test gives you peace of mind.  

If you receive a positive test, it means that blood was found in your sample – it does not necessarily mean that you have cancer, but it does need to be investigated.  

It will be safe to attend follow-up appointments, don’t delay because of COVID-19. Our health services are undertaking extra hygiene practices to ensure your safety. 

Now is the perfect time to tick bowel screening off your to-do list, don’t put off the chance to save your life. 

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