Information for Consumers - Bowel Cancer Screening (Australia)

This article tells you about bowel cancer and bowel cancer screening in Australia.

What is bowel cancer?

Most bowel cancers develop in the large bowel (colon) or rectum. The cancer usually develops from tiny growths, called polyps, however, only a small number of polyps become cancerous.

Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in Australia, but can be treated successfully if it is found early enough. In order to try and reduce the number of people in Australia dying from bowel cancer, there is now a National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.

What is bowel cancer screening?

Bowel cancer screening involves testing well people for bowel cancer as part of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program. If you do not qualify for the government program you can purchase a test kit from your local chemist.

Please access the following website for more information:

Further information

For more detailed information, please access InsideRadiology at:

This is a resource produced especially for consumers by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists:

A guide to gathering information that you may need for making informed decisions is published by the Consumers' Health Council of Australia at:

If you would like to look at other relevant articles, please access the Diagnostic Imaging Pathways website at:

Or if you have questions or require any further information please contact your doctor.


National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing -

Consumer participation

This information has been reviewed by representatives from the following groups:

  • Aboriginal people
  • People with disabilities
  • Seniors
  • CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse)
  • The Health Consumers' Council


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This article is intended as general information only. Radiology Across Borders cannot accept any legal liability arising from its use. The information is kept as up-to-date and accurate as possible, but please be warned that it is always subject to change.


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Date reviewed: July 2017

Date of next review: July 2019