2016 – Who’s eligible for the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program this year?

Professor James St John, Gastroenterologist and Honorary Senior Associate, Cancer Council Victoria and Kate Broun, Cancer Screening Manager, Cancer Council Victoria

Published 18 January 2016

Approximately two million Australians will be invited to screen for bowel cancer for free in 2016 with the continued rollout of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBSCP).

The NHMRC recommend two-yearly screening with an FOBT for those aged over 50.

In 2016: 50, 55, 60, 64, 65, 70, 72 and 74 year-olds will be invited to the NBSCP, with the ages 64 and 72 added for the first time.

You may think, ‘Why are both 64 and 65 year olds invited to participate if the NHMRC guidelines recommend two-yearly screening?’.

Both age groups are invited in 2016 only to include more of the target population as the program moves to two yearly screening.

All age groups invited to the program in 2016 (excluding 50 year-olds), will receive their second invitation to screen since the program started.

Evidence shows that more than 75% of participants who previously completed the NBCSP test, will participate when re-invited.

However, the biggest challenge that remains is getting Australians to use the at-home screening kit for the first time. Nationally, currently only 37% of invited Australians participate.

GPs can play such an important role in supporting their patients to participate in the NBCSP.

Use this handy table from the NBCSP as an easy reference to find out when your patients are eligible:

National Bowel Cancer Screening Program Age Eligibility by Year of Birth 2016