As Croakey has previously reported, there have been some major problems with federal health policy-making around the national bowel cancer screening program.
Now, Rada Rouse, a senior medical writer at Medical Observer magazine, reports that there also some serious problems with the program’s implementation.
Rada Rouse writes:
Data is missing on follow-up of thousands of people who have tested positive to a faecal occult blood test (FOBT) under the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.
A monitoring report on the program compiled by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows there is no record of outcomes for more than 6000 individuals because doctors and pathology labs have failed to lodge information with the program’s central register.
With public health advocates pushing for biennial testing of all Australians aged 50 to 75 years, observers warn it’s going to be hard to evaluate the success of the interim program because of all the gaps in the data.
Rouse’s full report is available here.
• For more background, another recent Croakey post may be of interest: Terry Slevin, of the Cancer Council Western Australia, urges the public to get politically active in pushing for a proper, long-term bowel cancer screening program.