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First Nations Communities encouraged to take free cancer screening test

2 min read
free screening test

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are encouraged to stay healthy and strong – the simple free screening test that can save lives. 

A new campaign featuring Waanyi Gangalidda and Erub man Trevor Tim is encouraging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to stay strong and healthy by doing a free bowel cancer screening test every 2 years from the age of 50. 

“I think it’s very important that our people, our mob, do the free test. We’re talking about leading the way for our people, we need to close the gap and we need our mob to be living longer,” said Trevor Tim. 

Bowel cancer is Australia’s second biggest cancer killer and one of the most common cancers impacting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 

The campaign aims to raise awareness of the importance of bowel screening and increase participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Government’s free National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.  

If detected early, almost all bowel cancers are treatable. 

“When I talk about our brothers out there (they) need to be a Warrior of the 21st century. Act by your actions, lead by your actions,” he added.  

“By you doing the test and looking after yourself your younger brothers, sons, younger cousins, uncles… can… see what you’re doing and act on that, so you then become a true leader.” 

Data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2019-2020)1 indicates just over a third of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (35.2%) completed their bowel cancer screening tests as part of the national program while a 2019 survey by Cancer Council2 found nearly half of eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people surveyed weren’t up to date with any kind of bowel cancer screening. 

The free at-home test kit is sent to people at their Medicare-registered home address once they turn 50. People who have not received a kit or need a replacement kit are urged to contact the National Cancer Screening Register by visiting or call on 1800 627 701.  

Health professionals can also order a kit on their patients’ behalf through the register. 

To find out more about the benefits of bowel cancer screening or to download campaign and stakeholder resources visit 

 | Website

Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.


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