Congratulations to Prof Mark Jenkins on being awarded an NHMRC Investigator Grant - Tackling Australia’s low screening participation to prevent bowel cancer deaths

Mark Jenkins

Professor Mark Jenkins

Congratulations to Professor Mark Jenkins, Director of the Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics who has been awarded over $2 million in an NHMRC Investigator Grant that is aiming for a 20 per cent increase in bowel cancer screening participation. This aims to result in prevention of 25,000 bowel cancer deaths, and saving the health budget $400 million.

We have a world-leading at-home bowel cancer screening program in Australia however only 41 per cent of eligible people participate. If everyone sent the test used it, 80 per cent of bowel cancer deaths could be prevented.

Screening is lower for people receiving the kit for the first time at 31 per cent participation; the younger participants with only 30 per cent participation for 50 to 54 year old’s compared to 53 per cent participation for 70 to 74 year olds; and lower participation in some cultures and language groups including Indigenous Australians, Southern European and Indian.

Non-screeners are not protected from preventable bowel cancer and therefore are unnecessarily vulnerable. Professor Jenkins aims to devise novel interventions to increase bowel cancer screening to circumvent current barriers; assess their effectiveness through a randomised controlled trial within the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program; and determine the reduction in bowel cancers, deaths and cost-effectiveness of incorporating the most successful interventions into national screening.

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Prof Mark Jenkins