Call for healthcare providers to help increase cancer screening program participation

Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care is seeking help from healthcare providers to increase participation in the national cancer screening programs (bowel, breast and cervical). 

We know cancer screening saves lives, but only around 50% of Australians eligible for the national cancer screening programs complete the tests.

Australians diagnosed through the national cancer screening programs are 59% less likely to die from bowel cancer, 69% less likely to die from breast cancer and 87% less likely to die from cervical cancer compared to Australians diagnosed another way.

Research shows primary healthcare workers are key to motivating patients to participate in cancer screening.

This month the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care will begin distributing cancer screening packs to more than 8000 general practices across Australia. The packs will include:

  • Three A3 posters, one for each national cancer screening program, with reminder messaging. Practices are asked to place these in waiting rooms and other places visible to patients to prompt a conversation with their health care provider about cancer screening.
  • Demonstration samples of the bowel cancer screening home test kit and the cervical screening self-collection swab – these can be used to show patients how to do the tests.
  • Information on how to use the cancer screening tests and where to find educational resources on cancer screening.

The new resources are available via the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care website. Additional information for healthcare providers can be found here. If you would like a physical copy of the pack sent to you, please email epe@health.gov.au with your PHN’s details.

In addition to these new resources, the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care in collaboration with GPEx and the Jodi Lee Foundation is inviting GPs, Practice Nurses and their clinics to attend a free 30-minute webinar focusing on the skills and knowledge they need to support their patient’s participation in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP).

Did you know Australia has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world with bowel cancer being the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in Australia.

All Australians aged 50-74 receive a free bowel cancer screening test as part of the NBCSP, but only 43.5% of Australians who receive the test complete it. 

Many people do not experience bowel cancer symptoms until the cancer has become more advanced, but if detected early over 90% of bowel cancers can be successfully treated - early detection saves lives!

The webinar will cover:

  • The roles of the GP and Practice Nurse; 
  • Patient eligibility and relevant clinical information; 
  • How to complete the bowel cancer screening home test; 
  • Understanding test results; and 
  • Where to find further tools and resources. 

The webinar will be running from 11 July - 23 August with multiple dates available. Find out more and register for the free webinar here!

Please also see more information about the new National Bowel Cancer Screening Campaign here.

Cancer screening, Chronic conditions