Funding for bowel screening will not save maximal lives

HEALTH experts fear a sought-after expansion of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) will be delayed till 2015, after the program only received funding in “limited form” for another four years.

The NBCSP was allocated $138.7 million in the Federal Budget, short of the amount required to screen all Australians every two years from age 50, as recommended by the NHMRC.

“If the Government sticks with its current plan, the program will remain restricted to a one-off test for people turning 50, 55 and 65 [until] 2015 – almost 10 years since being introduced,” said Professor Ian Olver, chief executive of Cancer Council Australia.

“We welcome the funding to get the NBCSP back up and running in its limited form… The challenge now will be to find additional funds in the next Federal Budget to bring forward the program’s enormous capacity to save lives.”

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