When should I start bowel cancer screening?
October 1, 2017General
If there is no family history of bowel cancer and no risk factors for bowel cancer, then most people should start bowel cancer screening at the age of 50 using a ‘stool kit’ that you can get from your GP or chemist. This test looks for microscopic amounts of blood in the stool that may be a sign of bowel cancer or bowel polyps. If it is positive, then a colonoscopy should be performed. If it is negative, current Australian guidelines recommend to repeat the stool test every 1-2 years, as polyps and bowel cancer become more common with age.
If there is a family history of bowel cancer or other risk factors, then the age at which screening should start is more complicated and depends on the age of the family member when they were diagnosed. You can view the full recommendations here, or discuss this with Dr Mahady.