Only 30 percent of older Aussies are taking advantage of a free bowel cancer testing scheme which could save their lives.
The Cancer Council is calling for Australians to take their bowel health more seriously and complete their free tests – particularly those aged between 50 and 57.
Currently all eligible Australians aged over 50 receive an at-home test in the mail – by 2020 all Australians aged 50=74 will be invited to screen every two years.
But while the test is free and discreet - the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s National Bowel Cancer Screening Program monitoring report shows just three in ten people are returning the free screening rest when it is sent to them in the mail.
Early detection of bowel cancer has a 99% survival rate – and while many Australians think diet is the biggest risk factor – being aged over 50 means you are more than two and a half more likely to be diagnosed.
“Turning 50 can be a landmark year and we want to remind this group that your risk of bowel cancer increases with age, so it is important to get tested even if you feel healthy and have no symptoms,” said Cancer Council Australia CEO Professor Sanchia Aranda told the Herald Sun.