Home test kits from the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program are made available for Australians from the age of 50-74 (you know, the poke your poo with a stick advertisement on TV). This program was made to increase the early detection of bowel cancer. It is important to remember that regular testing (every 2 years) is crucial once you are aged 50-74. Not only is bowel cancer is 90% curable if found at an early stage, but colon polyps (which can develop into cancers) can be detected and removed.
If a test comes back positive, this means blood was found in your stool. This must be taken seriously, although may not necessarily be bowel cancer. Other reasons the test may come back positive include bleeding from piles, menstrual blood or polyps.
It is then important to speak to your doctor to take a follow-up test such as a colonoscopy.
A colonoscopy is a test that a specialist uses to take a look inside your bowel with a thin flexible tube. In this case, the specialist will look for polyps (which can here be removed) or bowel cancers.
If you have a positive test from your bowel test kit, your GP will write a referral to a Gastroenterologist to ask for a screening colonoscopy to be undertaken.
If you have any questions, please consult your GP or see the below resources for more information.
Cancer Council: https://www.cancer.org.au/cancer-information/causes-and-prevention/early-detection-and-screening/understanding-your-fobt-results & https://www.cancervic.org.au/preventing-cancer/attend-screening/bowel_cancer_screening/faecal_occult_blood_tests
Australian Government: http://www.cancerscreening.gov.au/internet/screening/publishing.nsf/Content/bowel-screening-1