There are a number of options for accessing a bowel screening test (FOBT).
If you are experiencing any symptoms, go to your GP immediately to discuss.
National Bowel Cancer Screening Program
The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP), provided by the Australian government, currently offers free bowel cancer screening to people turning 50, 54, 58, 60, 62, 64, 66, 70, 72 or 74 years of age in 2018, who hold a Medicare card or DVA card. By 2020, a free FOBT kit will be offered every two years to people aged 50-74 years.
Kits are sent to eligible people in the mail close to their birthdays. Those who do receive a free screening test kit from the national program are strongly encouraged to complete the test.
Samples are collected in the privacy of the participant’s home and sent on to a pathologist for analysis. Results are sent to the participant and their GP. If the FOBT is positive, further tests are needed.
For information about the NBCSP, please call the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program Information Line on 1800 118 868 (between 8.30 am-5.00 pm across Australia) or visit the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program website.
For information about how to complete the kit, call the NBCSP Test Kit Helpline on 1800 930 998, or if you received your kit in 2017, call 1800 738 365.
FOBT instructions are available in other languages on the Multilingual Information page or you can ring Translating and Interpreting Services for assistance on 13 14 50.
General practitioners or general practice
If you are not eligible under the national program, it does not mean you cannot be screened.
Contact your usual general practitioner (GP) or general practice to discuss your screening options. Your usual GP or general practice can request a faecal occult blood test, which is eligible for a Medicare benefit. Most pathology practices bulk bill for this test.
Other options for getting a kit
Some pharmacies have FOBT kits available for purchase over the counter.
Some pathology services or health organisations provide online options for purchasing a kit.
You should discuss the use of FOBT kits with your GP before purchasing a kit.
For further information, call Cancer Council 13 11 20.
Other diagnostic tests for bowel cancer are available. Discuss these options with your doctor.