Medical guidelines in Australia recommend screening for bowel cancer at least once every two years from the age of 50.

However, bowel cancer does affect people under age 50 too. Around 11% of people diagnosed with bowel cancer in Australia are younger than 50, which is estimated to be 1,800 people this year.

We urge all Australian adults to be aware of bowel cancer and to speak to your GP immediately if you have any concerns or are interested in screening before the recommended age of 50.

About screening tests/

These simple at-home screening tests look for blood in your bowel movement – a common sign of bowel abnormality – that might be invisible to the naked eye. It is not a test for cancer.

If the result is positive you will be advised by letter to contact your GP to discuss the result, or your general practice might telephone you to make an appointment. Your GP will generally refer you to a specialist for a follow up colonoscopy to find out what is causing the bleeding.

On average 7% of test results are positive. This may be due to a number of conditions such as polyps, haemorrhoids or inflammation of the bowel. Of the positive test results, less than 5% are found to be caused by bowel cancer.

A negative test result indicates that no blood was detected in your bowel movement.

However screening tests are not always 100% accurate, because cancers and precancerous polyps only bleed intermittently. The test should be repeated every two years to increase the chances of early detection. And please consult your GP if symptoms develop, regardless of your screening test result.

You can read more about symptoms HERE

Where to get a screening test/