GPs support bowel cancer program
DESPITE its troubles, Australia’s bowel screening program has been voted by GPs as the single most effective recent government preventive health strategy.
A Medical Observer survey of 491 GPs found 82% believed the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) had the greatest impact on patient outcomes, ahead of practice nurse MBS items (75%) and chronic disease management plans (74%).
Professor Ian Olver, chief executive of Cancer Council Australia, hailed the support for the partially implemented program as impressive, and surprising given its limited reach.
“It tells us what a tragedy it is that the government has not announced any further funding for the current scheme [which ends this year],” he said.
“Nor have they announced a plan to complete the scheme so that everyone 50 and over gets rescreened every two years.”
Older GPs, in particular, backed the NBCSP, with only 18% of those having 20-plus years’ experience believing it was not effective.
Experienced GPs likely supported the program because they had witnessed the success of other interventions such as cervical cancer screening, and saw people benefiting from early detection of bowel disease, Professor Olver said.