You are here

Detecting Bowel Cancer

One of the difficulties with bowel cancer is that it often has no symptoms at all until it is at an advanced stage.

As statistics indicate that 5% of all Australians will develop bowel cancer at some point in their lives, the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program was introduced in 2008 where everyone aged 50-75 is screened for any presence of blood in the faeces, even where it cannot be detected by the naked eye using a test known as the FOBT - Faecal Occult Blood Test.

This test should be taken every 1-2 years. Where an FOBT test comes back positive i.e. there is blood present, this does not necessarily indicate the presence of cancer, however further testing (normally a colonoscopy) is strongly recommended.

The Faecal Occult Blood Test does not detect all polyps, and some smaller cancers can be missed by the test. A colonoscopy remains the most accurate diagnostic tool.