Our health system needs to ensure access to screening is based on evidence of need, not luck. In 2012 the Federal Government committed an extra $50 million to extend the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program to Australians turning 60 from 2013, 70 year olds from 2015, then progressively introducing two yearly screening for all Australians aged 50 to 74 from 2017.
The NSW community played a significant role helping to secure this funding through the Get Behind Bowel Screening campaign. Over 3,500 NSW community members sent messages to their MPs and many volunteers helped collect these messages during the Relay Life events around the state. 24,000 other Australians also took part by contacting their MP or sharing their story about bowel cancer. This campaign that ensured new funding for bowel cancer screening was included in the 2012/2013 Budget.
Around 90% of bowel cancers are cured if caught early enough, so this win means thousands of Australians will avoid premature death from Australia’s second biggest cancer killer.