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Bowel screening uptake lower in men.

The first results of the national bowel screening program show poor uptake rates, particularly by men who are at greater risk of developing bowel cancer.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) tracked the first year of the bowel screening program which started in August 2006 and involved nearly 450,000 screening tests sent to men and women aged 55 to 65 years.

Only just over 40% of people completed the test, said Melissa Goodwin of AIHW's Health Registers and Cancer Monitoring Unit. Blood in the faeces was detected in 7% of tests completed in the first phase of screening and men were 40% more likely to have blood detected than women. "Despite this fact, and the fact that men aged 55-74 years are 58% more likely to develop bowel cancer than women, participation in screening was almost 20% higher in women," Ms Goodwin said. It is the first national screening program inviting men to take part and women may be more used to screening through breast and cervical screening programs, Ms Goodwin said.

Uptake of screening was also almost 20% higher among 65 year olds than 55 year olds.

Statistics show bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in Australia. The risk of being diagnosed with bowel cancer by the age of 85 years is one in 10 for men and one in 14 for women. Precancerous polyps and bowel cancer were detected in 63% of the positive results further investigated by colonoscopy, the AIHW report shows.

The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program monitoring report 2007 can be accessed at
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Publication:Australian Nursing Journal
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Jun 1, 2008
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