17 September 2021
Melbourne: On Friday, 17 September 2021, VCS Pathology will launch its “Every Kit Counts” campaign for Health Care Professionals, including GPs and Nurses to encourage their patients to complete the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program home test kit.
Research on the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program predicts increasing screening participation to 60% will save up to 84,000 lives by 2040. 
The campaign also encourages Health Care Professionals to use the National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR) to identify eligible and under screened patients aged 50-74, and order the National Bowel Cancer Screening (NBCSP) test kit together with their patient in an appointment.
Commenting on the campaign and bowel cancer screening efforts, Prof. Marion Saville AM, Executive Director of VCS Pathology said “If we’re able to increase screening participation to 60% we predict we’ll save approximately 84,000 lives by 2040.
“Health Care Professionals are encouraged to use the NCSR to see if a patient is up to date with bowel cancer screening and order a free test kit which will go to the patient’s home address.”
Kate Broun, Manager of Screening, Early Detection and Immunisation at Cancer Council Victoria has said “Encouraging your patient aged 50-74 to do the NBCSP test kit versus other privately ordered FOBT tests has many benefits. It is a coordinated screening program, the test result is recorded on the national register, and patients are followed up and reinvited at the appropriate interval. The test is also highly effective at detecting early-stage cancer and pre-cancerous polyps.”
Paul Grogan, an adviser to Cancer Council NSW and the longest-serving non-government member of two government advisory groups set up to establish the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, said the program was one of the most important public health initiatives ever introduced in Australia”
“Bowel cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in Australia, but it shouldn’t be,” Mr Grogan said. “If detected early, it is one of the easiest cancers to treat, with stage one survival at around 98%. Even better, the program picks up around four times the number of pre-cancerous polyps as it does cancers – preventing cancers altogether. And it’s free.”
Many GPs are still referring their patients for colonoscopy, when the evidence shows the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program test kit is the most effective first-line screening test to prevent bowel cancer. “Reconsider if your average risk patient needs a colonoscopy. For most patients aged 50-74 in this category, it should be iFOBT first.” Kate Broun said.
Professor Jon Emery, the Herman Professor of Primary Care Cancer Research at the University of Melbourne has said “We’re also encouraging GPs to keep a NBCSP screening kit handy to demonstrate with their patients. Our research demonstrates that when GPs show their patients how easy the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program test kit is to use, its leads to significant increases in bowel screening participation.”
All Australians aged 50–74 years are sent the free iFOBT kit in the mail every two years through the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBSCP). The National Cancer Screening Register offers GPs and patients:
- A single source for complete patient bowel screening history
- Invitations and reminder letters to patients, sent every two years for people aged 50-74
Every Kit Counts, is a campaign developed by VCS Pathology in partnership with Cancer Council Victoria and is funded by the Victorian Department of Health.
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- The Lancet: Long-term evaluation of benefits, harms, and cost-effectiveness of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program in Australia: a modelling study
- Every Kit Counts Campaign toolkit: https://www.vcs.org.au/pathology/for-practitioners/everykitcounts/
- National Cancer Screening Register
- National Bowel Cancer Screening Program Roadmap
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