If detected early, more than 90% of bowel cancers can be successfully treated.
We recommend all eligible Australians aged 50 to 74 take a home test, known as a faecal occult blood test (FOBT) every two years.
This simple test will be mailed to you as part of the Australian Government's National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.
How the faecal occult blood test works
The home test looks for traces of blood in a bowel motion.
It involves taking samples from two bowel motions using a test kit. These are analysed at a pathology laboratory. If blood is detected, your doctor is likely to refer you for a colonoscopy.
Most positive tests are not the result of cancer. However, if cancer is detected early through the program, the chances of it being successfully treated are high. Read more
Learn more about the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program
When will I receive a test?
In 2019, the free at home test will be sent to all Australians aged 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70, 72 and 74.
From 2020, all eligible Australians aged 50-74 will be invited to screen every two years.
If you don't receive a kit, check this online calculator or call the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program Information Line on 1800 118 868 to see when you will.
Do the test - it could save your life.
What if I have symptoms?
Bowel cancer screening is designed to check for signs of bowel cancer in people who do not have any obvious symptoms.
If you are younger than 50, or over 74 and concerned about bowel cancer, if you have a family history of bowel cancer, or if you have any symptoms please talk to your doctor or call Cancer Council on 13 11 20.