Bowel Cancer Australia is calling on all levels of government to commit to a national minimum Colonoscopy Wait-time and Performance Guarantee to address delays in diagnosing Australia’s second biggest cancer killer.
Bowel Cancer Australia has long advocated for referral to colonoscopy within 30 days to minimise patient stress and anxiety, as recommended in the Optimal Care Pathway for people with bowel cancer.
Newly released medical guidelines, however are now recommending patients be referred to colonoscopy within a 120-day threshold.
“It is unacceptable that people with a positive screen or bowel cancer symptoms have to wait six months or longer for a colonoscopy to learn if they have cancer,” said Bowel Cancer Australia Chief Executive, Julien Wiggins.
Colorectal surgeon, Graham Newstead said during a colonoscopy, pre-cancerous polyps can be detected and removed before they develop into cancer.
“If bowel cancer is detected, and it is still in the earliest stages, 90 percent of cases can be successfully treated,” he said.