Early detection of bowel cancer
Up to 90% of bowel cancers can be treated effectively if they are found early.
Faecal occult blood test (FOBT)
FOBT is a simple test that looks for the early signs of bowel cancer before any noticeable symptoms are present. The test requires no faecal handling or changes to diet or medication.
FOBTs are not diagnostic tests (they cannot tell if you have cancer). FOBTs look for tiny amounts of blood (that often can't be seen by the naked eye) in bowel motions. Blood is often caused by something less serious than cancer. However it may be a sign of an early bowel cancer or a polyp.
The test is quick and painless. It can be done at home and involves collecting a tiny sample from two separate bowel motions.
Different brands of FOBT have slightly different ways of collecting the sample. Each kit comes with clear instructions.
The samples are then sent to a laboratory for testing. If blood is found more tests are required, to find out what's caused the bleeding.
To help you decide if bowel cancer screening is for you, call Cancer Council 13 11 20 to speak with a nurse.
Buy a bowel test
Cancer Council SA sells ‘ColoVantage Home’ FOBT kits for $30 or $20 for pensioners or health care card holders.
The price includes the test kit, all pathology costs, postage and handling and a set of simple instructions. The kit will be posted to you within a fortnight of receiving your order.
A private health fund rebate may be available for your purchase. To make a claim you will require the receipt sent to you from Cancer Council SA to take to your health fund.
For phone orders and for purchases of more than 2 kits please contact
Cancer Council SA on 13 11 20 or (08) 8291 4273 if you are calling from outside of South Australia.
How is the test done?
Each test comes with detailed instructions. Click here to watch Cancer Council’s YouTube video called ‘John in the John’ to see just how simple it is to do!