Bowel cancer is a common cancer and an important cause of death in Australia. Screening can detect bowel cancer early and make successful treatment more likely. Bowel cancer screening can be done using a faecal occult blood test (the FOBT or poo kit) or more invasive colonoscopy. In Australia, the FOBT is recommended for people who are at average risk of bowel cancer, and colonoscopy should only be performed in people at increased risk of bowel cancer. People’s risk of bowel cancer varies, due to family history, their diet, their lifestyle and certain commonly used medicines. In Australia, many people who are not at increased risk of bowel cancer are having unnecessary colonoscopies, costing them money and putting them at risk of complications. Others do not know that they are at higher risk of bowel cancer and may miss out on starting screening earlier.
This trial tests an electronic risk tool which accounts for a person’s age, sex, diet, lifestyle and medicine history and provides personal advice about bowel cancer screening. We are looking at whether the tool will result in more people having the most suitable type of bowel cancer screening depending on their risk of the condition.