Doing the test

The bowel cancer screening test is easy, quick and can be done in the comfort of your own home.

Page last updated: 29 September 2015

You will receive your screening invitation, free screening test kit and other program information through the post around the time of your birthday.

Using the screening kit

Video: Using the National Bowel Cancer Screening Kit

The screening kit includes an instruction sheet that guides you through the sampling process. If you would like help to understand the instructions contact the Test Helpline 1800 738 365. They will talk to you about the test and how to do it.

Complete the test as soon as you can. If your test is damaged or has expired, contact the Program Information Line on 1800 118 868 and ask for a replacement kit. If you have any of the symptoms associated with bowel cancer contact your doctor.

Once you have collected your samples, send them to the pathology laboratory in the reply paid envelope provided in the kit. Remember to send back your Participant Details Form with the kit. The samples are then processed and the results sent to you, your doctor or health service and the Program Register within two weeks.

Understanding your results

The screening test result shows whether blood was found in your samples.

If blood is detected, your result is positive. About one in 13 people will have a positive result. This may be due to conditions other than cancer, such as polyps, haemorrhoids or inflammation of the bowel, and the cause of bleeding needs to be investigated.

If your result is positive you will be asked to contact your doctor, who may recommend further tests, usually a colonoscopy, to find the cause of bleeding.

More information is available in Facts about Colonoscopy.

A negative result does not mean that you do not have or can never develop bowel cancer, as some bowel cancers do not bleed or only bleed on and off. This is why regular screening is recommended.

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