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When should I screen?

Cancer is the leading cause of death across the world and estimated to be the leading cause of burden of disease in Australia (Cancer Australia).

Screening programs aim to reduce the incidence and mortality from cancer. Australia has three national cancer screening programs:

Nepean Blue Mountains PHN Cancer Screening Programs work with primary care providers and other stakeholders in the Nepean Blue Mountains region to increase cancer screening rates for the three national screening programs.

National Cervical Screening Program 

The new National Cervical Screening Program commenced on 1 December 2017 and now recommends that all women aged between 25 and 74 years have a cervical screening test every five years instead of a Pap test every two years. The Cervical Screening Test is more accurate than the Pap test and looks for the types of human papillomavirus (HPV) which can cause cells to change and, in some cases, cause cervical cancer.

Cervical Screening tests can be performed by GPs and Nurses from General Practices, Community/Women’s Health Centre’s, Family Planning Centre’s, Sexual Health Clinics, Aboriginal Medical Service and Gynaecologist/Specialist Clinics.

Key Changes to the National Cervical Screening Program – December 2017

  • The Pap test has been replaced by a new Cervical Screening Test.
  • The time between tests has changed from two to five years.
  • Screening age has changed from 18 - 69 years to 25 - 74 years
  • Healthcare providers still perform a vaginal speculum examination and take a cervical sample, but the sample medium is liquid-based for partial HPV genotyping. 
  • Participants who have been vaccinated against HPV need to have regular cervical screening as the vaccine does not protect against all oncogenic HPV types.

View more information about the changes to the National Cervical Screening Program

The National Cancer Screening Register

This new Register has replaced the Pap test registers within states and territories, providing a national database of screening records for cervical screening.

The NCSR will also support the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, meaning that each person who participates in both cervical and bowel cancer screening will have a single record.

The NCSR is confidential and encourages regular Cervical Screening tests through follow-up and reminder services.

BreastScreen NSW

BreastScreen NSW provides state-wide screening mammography and assessment services.

BreastScreen NSW actively targets women aged 50 to 74 years for a free screening mammogram every 2 years. However, women over the age of 40 are also eligible to attend the service. 

BreastScreen NSW locations in the NBM region include a permanent Sunflower clinic within Myer, Penrith Westfields and a Sunflower clinic at Blue Mountains Hospital in Katoomba.

BreastScreen Mobile van provides breastscreening services to women in regions across the Blue Mountains, the Hawkesbury and Lithgow. 

National Bowel Cancer Screening Program

The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) invites Australian’s between the age of 50-74 to screen for bowel cancer at home using a free kit.

By 2020 all Australians aged between 50 and 74 years will be offered free screening every two years.

Eligible people are invited to complete an immunochemical faecal occult blood test (FOBT) from home and mail it to the program’s pathology laboratory for analysis at no cost to the patient.

Patients who receive a positive FOBT result are advised to contact their doctor to discuss results and any further tests.

Program Information Line - 1800 118 868 FOBT Helpline : 1300 738 365.