What if I’m under 50 or over 74?

Screening people aged 50 to 74 provides the greatest health benefit on a whole-of-population basis.

The Program invites eligible people aged 50 to 74 years to complete a free screening test, a similar age range to other international bowel cancer screening programs.

One of the reasons population screening through the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program does not begin until 50 is that bowel cancer is comparatively rarer in younger age groups.

The upper age of 74 years is in keeping with the recommendations of the National Health and Medical Research Council approved Clinical Guidelines for the Prevention, Early Detection and Management of Colorectal Cancer.

The Guidelines were developed after consideration of the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and the overall balance of benefits to risk of harm associated with screening. 

If you are outside of this age group and worried about your risk of developing bowel cancer, talk to your doctor or visit the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program website

People of any age experiencing symptoms or who have a significant family history of bowel cancer, should see their doctor.