Learn about Cancer Council Victoria’s Bowel Cancer Screening Campaign
In Australia, the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) provides eligible adults aged 50 to 74 years a free bowel screening test in the mail every two years to help detect the early signs of cancer before symptoms occur.
However, screening participation in Victoria have decreased for the first time in many years and currently sits at 43.9 per cent in Victoria (January 2020 – December 2021, AIHW.) In particular, people aged 50 to 54 are still our lowest screeners at 35.3% participation.
To address these low bowel screening participation rates Cancer Council Victoria is launching a new campaign focusing on bowel cancer survivor Laurie.
At 52, Laurie was fit, healthy and had done a bowel screening test 2 years earlier that was negative. He was about to throw out his latest test until his wife encouraged him to do it.
Shortly afterwards, Laurie was diagnosed with bowel cancer, and if he hadn’t done the test, he would have been dead by now.
Laurie’s story is powerful, and highlights the importance of all Victorians, including those aged 50-54 to participate in bowel screening every two years. It addresses the misconceptions some people have about not needing to screen because they don’t have any symptoms or are fit and healthy and highlights the benefits of finding bowel cancer early.
How you can help
Cancer Council Victoria is urging healthcare professionals to discuss bowel cancer screening with their patients and encourage them to take part in the NBCSP to help increase bowel cancer screening participation.
It’s important health professionals opportunistically ask their patients if they’re up to date with bowel cancer screening. Being proactive and checking if your patients are up to date with their bowel cancer screening can encourage participation. You can:.
- Discuss bowel cancer screening during an appointment.
- Check if your patient is up to date with bowel screening through the National Cancer Screening Registry (NCSR) Healthcare provider portal.
- Issue a kit to your patient through the Alternative Access to Kits Model (AAM).
Healthcare providers can now bulk order NBCSP kits and issue them directly to eligible patients, through the AAM on the NCSR Healthcare Provider Portal. Learn how to bulk order kits for your practice or learn more about the Alternative Access to Kits Model
During consultations, reassure your patients that if they notice any bowel cancer symptom – even if their previous screening test was normal – that it's important to see a doctor without delay.
To support you with these actions, Cancer Council Victoria has developed a bowel cancer screening landing page to learn more about bowel cancer symptoms and screening: cancervic.org.au/bowel
Patients can also speak to an experienced cancer nurse on 13 11 20 to learn about bowel cancer screening and bowel cancer in general.
Key messages you can use to increase bowel screening for patients
- More than 90 per cent of bowel cancers can be successfully treated if found early.
- Bowel cancer is the second biggest cause of cancer death in Australia.
- At 52, Laurie felt fit, healthy and had no cancer symptoms. But after doing his bowel screening test, he was shocked to find he had bowel cancer. If Laurie hadn’t done his bowel screening test, he would be dead by now. He is urging others to do their bowel screening test now, and don’t risk their lives any longer.
- Aged 50 to 74? Don’t take the risk, take the test.
- Bowel cancer can develop without any symptoms and without a family history.
- When you get your bowel screening kit in the mail, open it up and put the test in your bathroom. You can set a reminder to do the test via the Cancer Council Victoria website at www.cancervic.org.au/bowel.
- If you’re aged 50 to 74 you should do the free bowel screening test every two years when it’s sent to you in the mail.
- If you’ve misplaced, lost or your bowel screening test has expired, order a replacement at the National Bowel Screening Register.
|Sample post 1||Sample post 2||Sample post 3|
|If Laurie didn’t do his bowel screening test, he would be dead by now. At only 52, he felt fit, healthy and had no symptoms. That one choice to do the test changed his life forever. Because he did the test, he saw his daughter graduate, celebrated 30 years of marriage and took his son on a road trip. Aged 50 to 74? Don’t take the risk. Take the test. Learn more at cancervic.org.au/bowel #DontTakeTheRisk #CancerCouncilVictoria||Over 90% of bowel cancers can be successfully treated if found early. If you’re aged 50 to 74, make sure you do the free bowel screening test every two years. Put it in your bathroom as soon as you get it so that you can use it next time you go to the toilet. The test can save your life. Learn more about bowel screening here: cancervic.org.au/bowel #DontTakeTheRisk #CancerCouncilVictoria||Don't put off bowel cancer screening and do the free test today. Our (clinic/organisation) can support you to get up to date and answer your questions. Aged 50 to 74? Don’t take the risk take the test. #DontTakeTheRisk #CancerCouncilVictoria|
Title: Don’t take the risk, take the free bowel screening test!
Cancer Council Victoria’s new bowel screening campaign is calling on all Victorians aged 50 to 74 to participate in bowel screening.
Featured in their campaign is bowel cancer survivor Laurie, who would be dead right now if he hadn’t done the free bowel screening test.
At 52, Laurie felt fit, healthy and had no symptoms. Laurie had also done a bowel screening test two years earlier, which was negative.
“That one simple choice to do the test changed my life forever. I look back on everything I’ve done because I did the test, including seeing my daughter graduate, celebrating 30 years of marriage with my wife and taking a road trip with my son.
I can’t believe how much I would have missed if I hadn’t done the test.
Don’t risk your life, do the bowel screening test as soon as you get it. It saved my life, and it could save yours too.”
Eligible Australians aged 50 to 74 years are sent a free bowel screening test every two years as part of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP).
However, participation has recently declined in the NBCSP and sits at only 43.9 per cent in Victoria. In particular people aged 50 to 54 are still our lowest screeners at 35.3% participation. In addition to this decreased screening rate, is Cancer Council Victoria data which estimates there were over 800 missed bowel cancer diagnosis in 2020 and 2021.
As more than 90 per cent of bowel cancers can be successfully treated if they are found early, the free bowel screening test can save your life.
Learn more about bowel screening, reorder a replacement test or set a reminder via Cancer Council Victoria’s website cancervic.org.au/bowel.
Support Hindi, Vietnamese and Punjabi speaking communities
As part of this campaign, Cancer Council Victoria will be addressing the unique barriers to bowel screening faced by Victorians from Vietnamese, Punjabi and Hindi speaking communities.
These barriers include:
- A belief that a vegetarian diet will protect them.
- Fear of the test bringing a fatal diagnosis or bad karma.
- Hesitancy around storing the test sample in the fridge.
- Having no symptoms.
- Assuming this is not a disease which affects their community.
We are developing new campaign materials which will focus on enablers to participation which include:
- Content from relevant and trusted health professionals that address the barriers mentioned above.
- Increasing awareness of early detection and improved health outcomes if cancer is found early.
Organisations that support or engage people who speak these languages can use translated materials that are coming soon and direct audiences to our dedicated in-language website pages.
Resources for GPs, nurses and other health care professionals
The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program offers information to support the role of health professionals in the program, including accessing bulk bowel screening test kits for your practice through the alternative access to kits model.
Cancer Council Victoria recognises the key role that GPs, nurses and other health professionals play in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.
You can promote participation through:
- endorsing the program in your practice
- displaying brochures, flyers and posters in your practice
- encouraging patients aged 50-74 to do the test
- demonstrating how to use the kit with eligible patients
- encouraging 49-year-old patients to complete the test when they turn 50
- helping patients complete the participant form
- reading Promoting bowel cancer screening in general practice
- managing patients according to the evidence-based Clinical practice guidelines for the prevention, early detection and management of colorectal cancer.
Waiting room resources
Cancer Council Victoria has a range of free resources available for your waiting room, including:
- brochure, Finding bowel cancer early can save your life, A step-by-step brochure to completing a bowel cancer screening kit, available in English, Arabic, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Karen, Simplified Chinese, Sinhalese, Tamil and Vietnamese
- posters for waiting rooms to encourage people to complete the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program kit
- posters and brochures specifically for the Aboriginal community.
Managing patients via the National Cancer Screening Register
The program is supported by the National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR), which invites, reminds and follows up participants to screen. The NCSR Healthcare Provider Portal is a secure environment to access and submit screening data, as well as bulk order bowel screening kits and register kits issued to participants as part of the alternative access to kits model.
You can use the portal to:
- bulk order bowel screening kits for your practice and register a kit issued to a patient
- access your patient’s bowel and cervical screening results and histories online
- prepare for patient appointments by checking if they are due for screening or follow up
- submit forms and reports electronically
- update your patient’s information
- order a bowel screening kit to be sent to a patient’s home address.
Alternative Access to Kits Model
Healthcare providers can bulk order National Bowel Cancer Screening Program kits and issue them directly to eligible patients. This provides the opportunity to explain why the test is important and how to do it. This is in addition to the mail-out model, where kits are mailed directly to eligible people by the National Cancer Screening Register.
Many patients are more likely to screen when it has been recommended to them by their health care professional. With your encouragement, the Alternative Access to Kits Model is targeting people less likely to screen and those who have never screened. Once people screen for the first time, we know they are more likely to keep screening.
Find out more about the Alternative Access to Kits Model.
Increase capacity and confidence in promoting the NBCSP to your patients using the free training links below.
Increasing bowel cancer screening in general practice
The online learning module Increasing bowel cancer screening in general practice is targeted towards GPs, practice nurses and practice managers which will enable a co-ordinated practice-wide approach to bowel cancer screening.
By the end of this module you will:
- Be aware why general practice needs to endorse participation in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program and be able to explain to patients the risks in not completing the test
- Be familiar with the impact general practitioners can have on bowel cancer screening rates
- Have access to the resources your practice needs to encourage patients to screen for bowel cancer
- Have increased knowledge of key points from the national colorectal guidelines and links to further clinical information
This module takes approximately 30 minutes to complete and is best viewed using Chrome or Firefox.
Breast, Bowel and Cervical Screening Clinical Education Course
Provided by the Australian Centre for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer (ACPCC) this course contains information on our three national cancer screening programs, general information about how to promote screening and a specific module on under screened populations. Learn more about the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, as well as the other national cancer screening programs through this CPD accredited course.
Access the course: Breast, Bowel and Cervical Cancer Screening Clinical Education Course
Increased role for GPs in bowel cancer screening model
Provided by Northwest Health Primary Health Network (NWHPHN) on 20 June the webinar: An increased role for GPs in the bowel cancer screening model, covered the following topics presented by:
- National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, Cancer Council Victoria
- Impacts of COVID-19 on new cancer diagnoses, Victorian Cancer Registry
- Alternative Access to kits Model and how health care providers can order, issue kits to patients and record it in the National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR)
- Accessing the NCSR and integrating clinical software, NCSR
- GP Case Study: Integrating clinical software to the NCSR Healthcare Provider Portal.