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How Bowelscan works

Rotary Bowelscan uses faecal occult blood test (FOBT) screening kits. The test discovers blood passed from the bowel that’s invisible to the naked eye, which can be an early warning of cancer. Conducted annually, it provides a very good chance of early detection and a high probability of successful treatment.


A simple at home test

First, you buy a test kit from a participating pharmacy during Bowelscan Month (May every year) for just $12. You take the kit home, take some samples according to the instructions, and drop the kit into the collection bin at the pharmacy within 5 days of the first sample. You must return it before June 14. READ MORE

Your kit is sent to Bowelscan’s generous supporters Western Diagnostic, who do the lab test free of charge. Bowelscan’s Medical Coordinator then notifies you of the result, and also notifies your GP if the test is positive. Confidentiality is maintained at all times.

Remember, there are several causes of ‘hidden blood’, so if your test is positive it’s not certain that you have polyps or bowel cancer. To determine the source of the blood, your GP will refer you for a colonoscopy.



Danger begins at 40

Your risk of bowel cancer jumps significantly from age 40, and doubles every five years until 60 (when the risk starts to increase even faster). This is why Rotary recommends Bowelscan to anyone 40 or over.

Please don’t wait for symptoms

Remember, Bowelscan is for people who are not showing any signs of bowel cancer. If you have any direct family history of bowel cancer, any blood showing in bowel motions, or any recent changes in bowel habits, you should talk to your GP right away.
Waiting to see symptoms is waiting too long.
(For more about symptoms, see ‘Bowel cancer’.)

Bowelscan is a Rotary community service program, and no profit is made by either Rotary or participating pharmacies. Bowelscan is an awareness program, not a medical service. All medical services are provided by licensed general practitioners and pathologists.