In the 2014 Australian Federal Budget the Government announced a further $95.9 million over four years to accelerate the implementation of biennial screening for all Australians aged 50 to 74 years between 2015 and 2020.
This will ensure that the programme is consistent with the National Health and Medical Research Council clinical guidelines, which recommend screening every two years from age 50.
This means that as well as the people currently being invited to screen (50, 55, 60 and 65 year olds) other age groups will be added as follows:
- 2015: 70 and 74 years olds
- 2016: 72 and 64 years
- 2017: 68, 58 and 54 year olds
The four remaining cohorts 52, 56, 62 and 66 year olds, will be included from 2018 to 2020.It is estimated that when fully rolled out, approximately four million eligible Australians will be invited annually.
The take home message from this is that the recommendation of screening for bowel cancer will not be done for all of the recommended age groups for another six years – that is if you wait for the faecal occult blood test (FOBT) kit to arrive in the mail. You do not have to. You can present to your Doctor and request the test now as recommended every two years after the ago of 50 or earlier should there be other risk factors.
You do not have to be passive and wait for the Government to catch up with the recommendations. At eDoc.net when the research has been done the recommendations are online and current. Once a year, check in, do your ‘what tests should I have this year’ screen and stay healthy!