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Why bowel screening is important

Bowel cancer screening can detect cancers at an earlier stage, when treatment can be more successful.

If detected early, bowel cancer can be successfully treated in more than 90% of cases. Earlier diagnosis also means treatment can be less invasive.

Bowel cancer currently kills more people in NSW than prostate cancer, breast cancer or melanoma, and it accounted for 12% of all cancer diagnoses in NSW in 2016.

Despite this, currently only 36%[1] of eligible people in NSW take part in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program—much lower than screening for breast or cervical cancer.

"Bowel cancer  hasn’t had as much publicity as some other cancers, which could be why people underestimate it.
We need to correct the gaps in awareness to significantly increase the numbers of people screening and in turn reduce the numbers of people dying from this disease."

Sarah McGill, Director of Cancer Screening and Prevention

[1] Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017. National Bowel Cancer Screening Program: monitoring report 2017. Cancer series no.104. Cat. no. CAN 103. Canberra: AIHW.