One of the four national health priorities determined by the Australian government is to increase cancer screening rates.
Recent reports released from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare highlight the positive impact increased screening rates can have on reducing illness and death from cancer, however they also indicate there is still work to do to reduce the incidence even further.
COORDINARE will be working with the local community and health care providers to see what we can do together to improve cancer screening rates in South Eastern NSW.
Below are some links to useful resources related to cancer screening:
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. Other useful information can be found on the Cancer Council Australia and Cancer Institute NSW websites.
HealthPathways provides a detailed guide to screening, assessment, management and local referral options, as well as links to useful websites and resources (note, not all pathways are localised yet). Visit the Illawarra Shoalhaven or ACT & Southern NSW HealthPathways sites for more information.
From 2018, a new national register will support the National Bowel Cancer Screening Project and the renewed National Cervical Screening Project. Its functions include:
An update on the rollout of the new register (cervical screening functions) is available here.
The Register will be 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.
The below video provides a guide to women from Arabic-speaking/Mandarin-speaking communities on the importance of breast screening. Breast screening is an important routine health check for women aged 50-74. Regular screening mammograms are the best way to detect breast cancer early; before any symptoms are noticed, and when treatment is likely to be most successful.
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.
The Department of Health advises that clinicians should check with their pathology provider that they are accredited to offer patient self-screening. The RACGP website has a series of videos addressing common questions that GPs receive.
Women under 25
Routine screening for women under 25 is not recommended and is not covered by Medicare. Refer to clinical guidelines for management of 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.
Overview for health professionals – including transitioning patients, pathology, MBS, accessing histories and contacting the NCSR
An overview for health professionals including information about the renewal of the National Cervical Screening Program and where to go for more details, can be found on the Cancer Institute NSW website.
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 download or ordered as hard copies.
The Illawarra Shoalhaven and ACT & Southern NSW cervical screening pages offer a HealthPathways PDSA CPD activity to implement the changes in practice, see the ‘Information’ tab - clinical resources at the bottom of the page.
Guidelines for the management of screen-detected abnormalities, screening in specific populations and investigation of abnormal vaginal bleeding can be accessed here.
The National Cervical Screening Program website resource library also contains consumer resources, including resources in a number of languages for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, which you can access here, and resources for CALD communities, accessible here. Information and resources are also available on the Family Planning NSW and Cancer Institute NSW websites.
Resources for health professionals
Other useful resources
The following resources are a brief list of quality improvement activities for improving cancer screening:
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