National Bowel Cancer Screening Program


The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program is an Australian Government screening program.

Bowel cancer screening is designed to check for signs of bowel cancer in people who do not have any obvious symptoms, but are at higher risk of bowel cancer because they are in the 50 to 74 age group.

The program uses a faecal occult blood test (FOBT), a simple test that you can do at home. Read more about FOBTs.

Who is eligible for a free test?

From 2020, all eligible Australians aged 50 to 74 will be invited to screen every two years.

If you're under 50 and are concerned about your risk of bowel cancer, speak to your doctor.

How do I complete the test?

When eligible, you will be sent an invitation to screen from the Australian Government, which will include an FOBT kit. Simply follow the instructions and mail the completed test in the envelope provided.

For simplified instructions, see this pictorial brochure  or watch this video.

What happens if I receive a positive result?

If your test is positive, you and your nominated GP will be advised. If blood is detected, your doctor is likely to refer you for a colonoscopy.

Most positive test results do not turn out to be cancer. However, if cancer is detected early, there is higher chance of it being treated successfully.

I've lost my test, what shall I do?

Don't worry, people who have been invited to participate in the Program can obtain up to two replacement kits.

To order a replacement kit, call the National Cancer Screening Register on 1800 627 701. Have your participant number or Medicare number ready to speed up your call.