Bowel screen expansion could double lives saved

More than 70,000 deaths from bowel cancer could be avoided over the next 40 years with the planned expansion of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP), according to a modelling study lead by Cancer Council Western Australia.

The NBCSP currently invites people aged 50, 55, 60 and 65 to have a one-off free faecal occult blood test (FOBT).
Under plans to expand the program announced by the federal government earlier this year, 70-year-olds will be eligible for free screening from 2015.

The remaining age groups between 50 and 74 will be added each year, with full implementation of the program, including biennial screening, by 2020.

The Cancer Council WA study used a computer simulation to examine mortality gains with full implementation of the expanded program.

It found that the existing NBCSP would prevent 35,169 bowel cancer deaths between 2015 and 2055.

However, full implementation of the expanded program by