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Important notice

doctorportal Learning is on the move as we will be launching a new website very shortly. If you would like to sign up to dp Learning now to register for CPD learning or to use our CPD tracker, please email support@doctorportal.com.au so we can assist you. If you are already signed up to doctorportal Learning, your login will work in the new site so you can continue to enrol for learning, complete an online module, or access your CPD tracker report.

To access and/or sign up for other resources such as Jobs Board, Bookshop or InSight+, please go to www.mja.com.au, or click the relevant menu item and you will be redirected.

All other doctorportal services, such as Find A Doctor, are no longer available.

Shift to earlier stage at diagnosis as a consequence of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program

Stage at diagnosis is critical in determining the probability of survival with colorectal cancer (CRC). In randomised controlled trials, population screening using faecal occult blood tests (FOBT) results in earlier stage at diagnosis for screen-detected cancers,1 and reduced mortality from colorectal malignancy compared with controls.24 Evaluations of cancer prevention programs with mortality as an end point take many years to complete. However, we know that early stage at diagnosis is linked to better prognosis and reduced mortality from CRC, so stage at diagnosis can serve as a surrogate marker for population mortality, and provides an early signal of program benefit.

After a pilot study in 2003, a faecal immunochemical test (FIT)-based National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) has been progressively rolled out across Australia. Participants in the program receive a free two-sample FIT kit by mail from a central register, collect samples and return them for testing. Results are mailed to participants and their nominated primary care practitioner (PCP). The PCP arranges follow-up of people with positive FIT results.