Cancer screening can detect cancers before any symptoms emerge.  Simple screening tests can detect cancer early by looking for particular changes and early signs.  Australia has national cancer screening programs for breast, bowel and cervical cancer.  Information and resources are available from the Department of Health’s Cancer Screening website.

We work with primary health care providers to increase their capacity to promote cancer screening and support patients to access cancer screening services and initiatives.

HealthPathwaysWA provides pathways for colonoscopy screening and surveillance.  Cervical and breast imaging screening pathways are currently under development.

About Bowel Cancer Screening

Bowel cancer is common in Australia, with 1 in 12 people developing the disease in their lifetime. Almost 80 Australians die each week due to bowel cancer. Over 90 per cent of bowel cancers can be successfully treated if detected in its earliest stage. Screening can detect bowel cancer, but less than 40 per cent of cases are found early.

The national guidelines recommend that everyone from the age of 50 is considered to be “average risk” and should be screened for bowel cancer.

In Australia the free National Bowel Cancer Screening Program aims to reduce illness and death from bowel cancer by offering people aged 50 to 74 years a free screening test to complete in the privacy of their own home. The Program is being gradually rolled-out, with new age groups being included each year. In 2016, Australians turning 50, 55, 60, 64, 65, 70, 72 or 74 will be asked to take a test. By 2020, all Australians aged 50-74 will be invited to participate, or be contacted by the program every two years.

Bowel Screening Resources

  1. National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP)

There are many resources available free via the National Bowel Cancer Screening resource page  to assist in targeting patients in your practice including:

A GP letter for mailout to eligible patients. There is convincing evidence that a letter signed by a person’s GP endorsing Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) is an effective method to increase participation in bowel cancer screening.

A3 “A Gift for Living” posters

DL “A Gift for Living” brochures

Translated Consumer Resources

GP Fact Sheet – Promoting the NBCSP in General Practice

  1. Cancer Council WA

Publications for patients, families and friends

GP Learning Module – CPD accredited

Cancer Council WA and RACGP have a learning module available for GPs and practice staff.

2 CPD points will be awarded for this activity available via RACGP learning site.

This activity consists of a case study. Participants will also be able to explore the different levels of risk that patients carry based on their family history and the findings of their screening tests and determine the most suitable follow up and management strategies in the short and long term. The activity also touches on a GP’s duty of care to those who participate in the NBCSP.

Waiting Room Videos promoting Bowel Screening – Stick it to Number 2

Cancer Council WA have 15 second and 30 second videos available for practices to display in their waiting rooms.  The videos are from the Stick it to Number 2 campaign.

If your practice is interested in this video for your waiting room please contact Shannon Wagner

Find Cancer Early: A Guide for General Practitioners

‘Find Cancer Early: A Guide for General Practitioners’ is a tool designed to assist WA GPs in the early diagnosis of patients with colorectal, lung, prostate and breast cancer

The GP Education webpage houses Find Cancer Early GP resources which include:

  • Find Cancer Early Guide for colorectal, lung, prostate and breast cancer.
  • Video that explains how to use the guide
  • WA Cancer Referral Directory
  1. Australian Practice Nurse Association Resources 

Guide for nurses working in general practice developed in partnership with Cancer Council WA, contains information on the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, a conversation flow chart, and a How to complete an iFOBT guide.

Nurse Learning Module – CPD accredited

eLearning module for Practice Nurses

This course provides primary health care nurses with an understanding of the risk factors and symptoms of bowel cancer, different screening tests for bowel cancer, features of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) and duty of care associated with the management of NBCSP participants.

This course was updated in 2017 with funding from the Australian Government Department of Health.

Duration: approx. 1 hour / 1 CPD hour

Cost: $99.00 inc GST / APNA Members FREE

This module is available here

More info can be found here

National Bowel Cancer Screening Program webinar

The Australian Practice Nurse Association (APNA) held a live webinar National Bowel Cancer Screening Program: Webinar for nurses working in general practice on 1 March 2017.


  1. Pen Clinical Audit Tool Recipes

Resources to identify under-screened patients in your practice using PenCat and the CATPlus Recipe. We encourage use of top bar in your practice software to facilitate discussions with eligible patients in your practice. Identify under-screened population for bowel cancer

  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Cancer in Australia 2017

About Cervical Screening

The National Cervical Screening Program recommends regular Pap tests for all women aged between 18 and 70 who have ever been sexually active.

Cervical screening aims to prevent cervical cancer by detecting early pre-cancerous changes in the cervix.

From 1 December 2017 there will be a change in the screening test for cervical cancer. To ensure Australian women will have access to a cervical screening program that is safe, effective, efficient and based on current evidence, the Australian Government has accepted the recommendations of the Medical Services Advisory Committee that a primary human papillomavirus (HP) test should replace the current Pap test for cervical screening.

The renewed National Cervical Screening Program will commence on 1 December 2017 when the HPV screening test will become available on the Medicare Benefits Schedule and the National Cancer Screening Register will be in place to support the renewed clinical pathway.

Until the renewed National Cervical Screening Program is implemented, our world-class cervical cancer screening program will continue. It is important that women aged between 18-69 years continue to have Pap smears every two years and talk to their doctor or health care professional if they have any questions.

More information is available on the future changes to cervical screening page.


Cervical Screening Resources

The Renewal of the National Cervical Screening Program

Online Training modules now available to all healthcare providers

The Cervical Screening Online Training Modules aimed at preparing healthcare providers for the changes to the National Cervical Screening Program are available at NPS MedicineWise.

This comprehensive set of online learning modules has been developed to provide healthcare providers training in the following areas:

  • Changes to the National Cervical Screening Program(NCSP)
  • Changes to practice and the cervical screening clinical pathway
  • Communicating the importance of screening and test results to patients.

All six interactive online modules are accredited for CPD points with RACGP, ACRRM, ACN, ACM and APNA.

The modules cover:

1 – Cervical cancer

2 – Changes to the National Cervical Screening Program

3 – Communicating the importance of screening

4 – Screening in practice

5 – Understanding the screening pathway

6 – Communicating test results and patient management

The Cervical Screening Online Training Modules are based on the National Cervical Screening Program: Guidelines for the Management of Screen-Detected Abnormalities, Screening in Specific Populations and Investigation of Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding (2016 Guidelines).

The Cancer Council Australia website also provides e-learning modules including real life scenarios aimed at healthcare providers to assist them to understand the 2016 Guidelines.

Information available via the WA Cervical Cancer Prevention Program (WACCPP):

About Breast Screening

BreastScreen Australia is the national breast cancer screening program. It invites women aged between 50 and 74 for a free mammogram every two years. BreastScreen Australia aims to continue to reduce deaths from breast cancer through early detection of the disease.

Information on evidence-based clinical practice guidelines, guides and recommendations is available from Cancer Australia.

These evidence-based clinical practice guidelines, guides and recommendations are designed to assist decision making and guide best practice in the management of breast cancer, as well as information related to breast cancer screening.


Breast Screening Resources

BreastScreen WA has information and resources for health professionals including location for rural screening programs.

Information available via BreastScreen WA:

About Screening Mammograms

Information for General Practitioners

Patient Information

GP Referral to BreastScreen WA

Fact sheets and resources are available via BreastScreen WA online.

Order printed resources including fact sheets and posters for your waiting room by completing the BreastScreen WA Resource Order Form:

Download form [pdf]


Want more information?