It’s the news we have all been hoping and campaigning for! In a pre-Budget announcement on Saturday 5 May, Health Minister Tanya Plibersek and Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan committed $50 million to expansion of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program to 60 and 70 year-olds over the next four years.
People who turn 60 on or after 1 January, 2013, will be offered a free bowel cancer screening test, joining those aged 50, 55 and 65 already in the program. People aged 70 will be added in 2015. From 2017-18, the program will be incrementally expanded to include screening for all Australians aged 50-74, every two years.
Your support, in sending more than 24,000 letters to MPs, has been crucial in helping to secure expansion of a screening program that will save thousands of lives through early detection of bowel cancer.
I commend the government for its farsightedness in committing to complete the expansion of the program, so it can achieve the maximum impact in terms of lives saved. I would also like to pay tribute to the efforts of independent MPs Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott and Andrew Wilke, strong advocates of our campaign. Thank you to the many MPs, organisations and individuals, too numerous to mention, who have campaigned to help secure expansion of the National Bowel Cancer Screening program.
Most importantly, to all of you who voiced your support in letters to your Federal MP, thank you. Your actions have been instrumental in the expansion of a program that will ensure thousands of Australians and their families are spared the tragedy of bowel cancer.
CEO Cancer Council Australia