Bowel cancer is essentially a preventable disease, with most cases being successfully treated or prevented if the early precancerous lesions (polyps) and family risk factors are identified.

Let’s Beat Bowel Cancer is involved in community awareness raising and multi-media promotion of screening with faecal occult blood testing (FOBT) to help prevent bowel cancer.   This research compliments the health promotion program in this important area.

Project 1: Role of screening for bowel cancer in patients 40-50 years of average risk/analysis of bowel cancer in the under 50s in Australia.

FOBT is recommended for adults aged 50 and over. Some clinical papers have suggested a potential rise in the number of cases in younger age groups in recent years.  Data from Cancer Council Victoria suggests an increase in the severity of disease in the under 50’s.  

The project involves:

  • Analysis of the data in our bowel cancer registry, to identify the local data on cases in the under 50 year age group
  • Conduct a literature review of the FOBT literature and identify why the under 50s were excluded in the previous guidelines. 
  • Conduct a cost-benefit analysis of screening in the under 50 year age group.
  • Identify whether an increase in incidence and the cost-benefit analysis warrants a change in the guidelines for testing, and
  • Advocate for policy changes as needed.

A paper is currently being prepared for submission in a high impact journal such as 'Lancet Oncology'.