In South Eastern NSW, a greater focus on cancer screening is needed to combat the region's higher-than-average premature mortality rates (compared to the NSW and Australia-wide averages).
A key focus for COORDINARE is to increase cancer screening rates across a range of demographics, from older people, to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities.
To achieve this, we are working with local community and health care providers to implement prevention strategies, promote awareness for cancer screening initiatives and enhance accessibility to services. You can read our Health priority: Prevention initiatives statement for more information.
The National Cancer Screening Program website has comprehensive information and useful resources for health professionals and consumers. Resources on cervical, bowel and breast cancer can be downloaded or ordered online.
As part of the National Cancer Screening Register 2018, there is a new National Bowel Cancer Screening Project and the renewed National Cervical Screening Project, which provide:
An update on the rollout of the new Register (cervical screening functions) is available here.
The Register is underpinned by legislation that will ensure protection of invitees’ and participants’ personal information. For further details about accessing the register and searching for forms, or to access the Transition Quick Start Guide for Health Professionals, click here.
HealthPathways also provides a detailed guide to cancer screening, assessment, management and local referral options. Visit the Illawarra Shoalhaven or ACT & Southern NSW HealthPathways sites for information relevant to your region.
Breastscreening interval guidelines and information, online modules and other professional development resources for health professionals are available on the Breastscreen NSW and the Cancer Australia websites.
Sydney North PHN has recently developed a great video about breast cancer screening, called 'Regular cancer screening may save your life'. Click here to watch Regina Marchant’s breast screening and early detection story.
The video below provides a guide to women from Arabic and Mandarin-speaking communities on the importance of breast screening. For women aged 50-74, regular screening mammograms are the best way to detect breast cancer early, before any symptoms are noticed. Early detection is more likely to result in successful treatment.
Further resources for health professionals and instructions for consumers can be downloaded or ordered from the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program website here. Translated resources are available here.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander resources
The Indigenous bowel screen website is a comprehensive library of information, resources and videos for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, GPs, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island health workers and nurses.
The Menzies School of Health Research has developed a project for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers to encourage bowel screening by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. An online module is available. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cancer Institute NSW has an overview for health professionals about the renewal of the National Cervical Screening Program.
The National Cervical Cancer Screening Program website has comprehensive information for health professionals including evidence, pathology and the new screening pathway. The resource library contains information packs, quick reference guides and other materials which can be downloaded or ordered as hard copies.
Self-screening and screen-detected abnormalities
The Department of Health advises that clinicians should check with their pathology provider that they are accredited to offer patient self-screening for cervical cancer. The RACGP website has a series of videos addressing common questions that GPs receive.
Guidelines for the management of screen-detected abnormalities, screening in specific populations and investigation of abnormal vaginal bleeding can be accessed here.
Women under 25
Routine cervical cancer screening for women under 25 is not recommended and is not covered by Medicare. Refer to the guidelines for women under 25.
On 1 December 2017, the National Cervical Screening Program changed from two yearly cervical cytology testing to five yearly HPV testing for women aged 25–74 years. An HPV test every five years is more effective, just as safe, and is expected to result in a significant reduction (24-36%) in incidence and mortality from cervical cancer in Australian women, compared with the program it replaces, which is based on two yearly pap smears.
The National Cervical Screening Program website resource library also contains consumer resources, including resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, and resources for CALD communities.
A toolkit for engaging under-screened and never-screened women in the National Cervical Screening Program is available here.
Consumer information is also available on the Cancer Institute NSW website.
Resources for health professionals
Resources for consumers
The following resources are a brief list of quality improvement activities for improving cancer screening:
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