Why GPs are key to improving bowel cancer screening rates


SPONSORED: Clinicians are encouraged to talk to patients about bowel screening as part of the Cancer Council’s Get2it campaign.

General practitioners play an important role in increasing participation in the national bowel cancer screening programme.

Screening rates for Australia’s second biggest cancer killer currently stand at just 43.5%, despite the fact that up to 90% of these deaths are preventable with early detection.

To increase take-up rates – and save lives – the Cancer Council and the Australian Government’s Department of Health have launched a new awareness campaign encouraging Australians aged 50-74 to ‘Get2it’ and take part in the national program Cancer Screening System (NBCSP) when they receive their free test kit in the mail.

But even though most GPs are already well aware of the benefits of screening, Professor Tanya Buchanan, CEO of the Cancer Council, said newsGP they still need to be aware of the campaign to help maximize its effectiveness.

“GPs are a trusted authority on health advice, so when they talk, people listen,” she said.

“In addition to starting the conversation about bowel screening, they can also identify potential barriers an unscreened patient faces, allay concerns, and order replacement test kits if needed.

“Patients are also likely to have more questions than usual about the program due to our promotional activity, which is why we encourage all GPs to actively participate in the campaign.”

A new report from the Center for Behavioral Research in Cancer has summarized the available research and identified common barriers that prevent the 36% of eligible people who do not participate in bowel screening from doing so – and how public health professionals can help patients to overcome them. barriers.

There were three distinct groups of expired or non-screeners:

  • Intentional (27%) who understand the importance of testing but lead busy lives and can’t find the time to get tested
  • Refuse (6%) who avoid bowel screening altogether, believing it to be unhygienic, complex, or fear a positive test result
  • Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) Naïve (3%) who are unaware of NBCSP or the need for testing

This information underpins the new campaign, which includes resources specifically for healthcare professionals to reinforce and remind “stewards” of the importance and urgency of screening, reassure and motivate those who refuse to participate (refusers) in do so, and educate and build trust among those who do not understand the NBCSP (NAIVE FOBT).

The campaign also has the backing of new Federal Health and Aged Care Minister Mark Butler, who points out that increasing NBCSP voter turnout to 60% would save an estimated 84,000 lives by 2040.

“We’re asking Australians between the ages of 50 and 74 to take the time to look after their health by having their free bowel test when it arrives in the post,” he said.

GPs can re-order a kit on behalf of their patient through the healthcare provider portal. Information on how to access it is available on the National Cancer Screening Registry website.

GPs can find more information about the NBCSP, which has been designed specifically for healthcare practitioners, on the Cancer Council website.

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bowel cancer Cancer Council National Bowel Cancer Screening Program NBCSP Screening

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