Opportunistic GP-based bowel cancer screening

Susan J Harnett, SK Cyril Wong and Gavin W Lackey
Med J Aust 2003; 178 (2): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2003.tb05077.x
Published online: 20 January 2003

To the Editor: Colorectal cancer is, after skin cancer, the most common cancer in Australia, with 11 245 new cases diagnosed in 1997, and over 4600 deaths.1 In clinical trials, screening programs using faecal occult blood testing (FOBT) have been shown to reduce mortality. The Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing estimates that implementation of effective FOBT screening programs would save around 400 lives per year.1 However, such screening programs have not been widely implemented because of perceived difficulties with patient acceptance, funding, and the complexity of support structures.


  • 1. National Health Priority Areas report on cancer control 1997. Canberra: Commonwealth Department of Health and Family Services, and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 1998.
  • 2. National Health and Medical Research Council. Guidelines for the prevention, early detection and management of Colorectal Cancer (CRC). Canberra: NHMRC, 1999.


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