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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.

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 Friday
    (9:30am - 5pm), Saturday (9am - 4:30pm), and every alternate Sunday (10am - 4:30pm) and Thursday (late night shopping: 11:30 am - 7:00 pm)
    .

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.

National Cancer Screening Register Supporting National Bowel Cancer Screening Program

From November 2019, the National Cancer Screening Register (the National Register) will begin supporting theNational Bowel Cancer Screening Program

The Australian Government’s National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) is a population-based screening program, that aims to help detect bowel cancer early and reduce the number of Australians who die each year from the disease.

From 18 November 2019, the current NBCSP Register operated by the Department of Human Services, will transition over to the National Register to create a single national record for participants of the NBCSP and the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP).

The National Register will support the NBCSP by:

  • Collecting and storing NBCSP bowel cancer screening data.
  • Inviting and reminding eligible people to participate (through integration with the Medicare database)
  • Distributing iFOBT kits to eligible participants (a free test kit that can be completed at home and mailed to the contracted pathology laboratory for analysis).
  • Providing the State and Territory Participant Follow-Up Function access to the National Register to facilitate their support and follow up of positive iFOBT results.
  • Providing information on participants to healthcare providers.
  • Providing reporting on key program and operational outcomes for policy makers and key stakeholders to ensure appropriate safety, monitoring and evaluation of the Program.

From March next year, extra features will be available:

  • An online portal which will enable healthcare providers to access patient information and submit data electronically to the NBCSP and the NCSP.
  • Integration with primary care Practice Management Software systems.
  • Integration with whole-of-government services (e.g. MyGov, My Health Record) which will enable greater self-service options for people to manage their participation in both Programs.

From 18 November 2019, the National Register can be contacted for both NBCSP and NCSP-related purposes on the following:

  • National Register Contact Centre:1800 627 701 (operates Monday to Friday, between 8am and 6pm in all Australian state and territory time zones)
  • Fax: Bowel Screening Fax: 1800 115 062. Cervical Screening Fax: 1800 627 702
  • Post:Bowel Screening Post: Reply Paid 90965, Sunshine VIC 3020. Cervical Screening Post: Reply Paid 90964, Sunshine VIC 3020

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