Bowel cancer screening program 'could save 90,000 lives in 40 years'

Published 21 Apr 2015

Around 90,000 Australian lives could be saved over the next 40 years if at least 60 per cent of people take part in the Commonwealth's revamped National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP).

Peer-reviewed research from Cancer Council Australia showed the figure would drop to 70,000 with a 40 per cent participation rate - still a significant reduction in the number of deaths linked to the critical illness.

"Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer of Australians, which is particularly tragic when more than 90 per cent of cases can be cured if detected early," said Director of Public Policy at Cancer Council Australia Paul Grogan.

"Right now there are tens of thousands of Australians walking around with a precancerous polyp or an early-stage cancer in their bowel who have no indication that this threat to their life is slowly growing inside them."

People who are diagnosed with a critical illness must not only cope with the emotional strain of the bad news, but also any potential financial repercussions that can arise from time off work or the cost of medical bills.

Fortunately, some insurance and superannuation policies contain critical illness cover that could result in a lump sum payment, which can be used to pay expenses and fill income gaps experienced by you or your family.

Bowel cancer screening

The NBCSP sends free bowel cancer screening tests to people aged over 50 that can be completed at home. The government has encouraged anyone turning 50, 55, 60, 65, 70 and 74 to participate.

"As well as being free, the faecal occult blood test is quick and easy, and the results are sent to your nominated GP," Mr Grogan stated.

"Thousands of Australians have already had potentially cancerous polyps and early-stage bowel cancers detected and treated successfully as a result of completing the test."

Mr Grogan applauded the government's initiative in revitalising the NBCSP, which has begun incrementally adding new age groups into its remit. Australians aged between 50 and 74 will receive a screening invite every two years by 2020 under the changes.

However, if you or a loved one has already been diagnosed with a critical illness and you were wondering whether you're eligible for benefits or compensation, contact an experienced superannuation lawyer to examine your case.

They can help you explore your options and gather evidence on your behalf, allowing you to pursue a claim with as little disruption to daily life as possible.

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