Bowel cancer prevention

What we’ll do

A Marshall Liberal Government will implement a Bowel Cancer Prevention Initiative that will save lives by delivering vital procedures earlier and prevent bowel cancer progressing.

We will:

  • wipe out, within 12 months of the election, the overdue waiting list for a colonoscopy
  • regularly publish the numbers and waiting times of people waiting for a colonoscopy after a positive bowel cancer test result
  • pursue the national time target for providing a colonoscopy within four months of a positive bowel cancer test result.

Why we’re doing it

Each year, around 4,000 South Australians receive a positive Faecal Occult Blood and most of them are then referred for a colonoscopy to determine whether bowel cancer is present.

Under Labor, waiting times for a colonoscopy have blown out well beyond the clinically recommended four months, with the waiting lists up to 12 months in some areas.

This is not only stressful for people who are waiting but it can also allow progression of the cancer.

In contrast, early procedures mean that 90 per cent of bowel cancer cases can be successfully treated.

Earlier procedures also make sense in terms of resource use. The typical cost of treating cancers that develop from polyps is $36,000 per case – 25 times higher than the cost of removing a pre-cancerous polyp detected through screening.

That’s why we will invest in bowel cancer prevention to save lives by ensuring screening is conducted earlier.