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Cancer Screening

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.

Improving cancer screening participation amongst our population within Australia’s three national cancer screening programs is a key priority for us.  

BreastScreen NSW  

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

BreastScreen NSW actively targets asymptomatic 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.

GPs play an important role in providing support and encouragement to patients to participate in screening.

GP’s Role in BreastScreen NSW

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.

The BreastScreen Mobile van provides breast screening services to women in regions across Hawkesbury, Blue Mountains and Lithgow.

NBMPHN communicates the location of the mobile vans to GPs through our regular bulletin to general practice, Practice News, which GPs and practice staff are welcome to subscribe to receive.

Local Clinic Screening Services are currently available:

  • Katoomba:  BCI Sunflower Clinic Blue Mountains Hospital Ground floor, Woodlands Road every Tuesday and Thursday from 9am to 4pm
  • Penrith: MYER Penrith, 585 High St, Penrith, NSW  2750 Monday to Wednesday and Saturday 9am - 4:30pm, Thursday 9am - 8pm, friday 9:30am - 4:30pm and Sunday 10am - 4:30pm

The mobile BreastScreen Van is screening at the following location:

  • Hawkesbury: St John of God Hospital, Hawkesbury District Health Service, 2 Day Street Windsor from 14 January to 7 February 2019

Please note these dates may change. Please contact BreastScreen NSW on 13 20 50 to make an appointment.

Find out more about your role as a GP in BreastScreen NSW.

Breast Cancer Screening Resources

You can download information as well as posters and brochures to put in your waiting room.

National Bowel Cancer Screening Program 

The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) invites Australian’s between the ages 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.

GPs are encouraged to discuss bowel screening with patients aged 50 and over. Patients who receive a positive FOBT result are advised to contact their doctor to discuss results and any further tests.

GPs play a key role in ensuring that participants in the NBCSP progress through the screening pathways.

Key Changes to the National Bowel Screening Program – January 2018

The Department of Health (DoH) has introduced a new immunochemical faecal occult blood test (iFOBT) kit, and associated pathology services, into the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program. 

The new test kit is included on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods and is already widely used in Australia and overseas. The new sample collection method is very similar to that of the previous test kit used and an Instruction Brochure will be provided to invitees with the kit, along with an updated Information Booklet. The new pathology provider is Sonic Healthcare Limited (Sonic) and was selected by the DoH through an open market tender process. 

Can general practice receive results electronically?

GPs will receive an HL7 message if they are set up with Sonic to receive electronic results. To set up an HL7 message system, GPs can call Sonic on 1800 957 177 to arrange installation via the local laboratory team.

What will happen with kits issued before 2 Jan 2018?

For any kits issued by Dorevitch pathology in 2017, where these are returned in 2018, they will still be tested by Dorevitch Pathology as the service provider will still be in place to test returned kits that were issued in 2017.

More information on the new test kit is available on the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program website including a list of downloadable Questions & Answers. 

For further information on the GP's role in this program, please contact:

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

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 Centres, Family Planning Centres, Sexual Health Clinics, Aboriginal Medical Service and Gynaecologist/Specialist Clinics.

General Practices can register as a cervical screening provider to let women in your area know that you provide Cervical Screening Tests by including your details in the Cervical Screening Test provider directory. If you  need to update your provider details please forward the changes to cervicalscreening@cancerinstitute.org.au.

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
  • New MBS Item numbers for Cervical Screening in General Practice
  • The self-collection option has been deferred until further notice
  • Updates to practice software - install all updates as required to ensure changes to MBS Item numbers. 
  • Practice staff will need to manually adjust recall and reminder systems as per practice policy

More information on free CPD training; educational resources and information pack are available on the Department of Health's website

For support contact National Cervical Screening Program on 13 15 56 or cervicalrenewal@health.gov.au.

The National Cancer Screening Register

The National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR) supports the operations of the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) by providing a secure, confidential database of screening records.

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.

cancer screening