Cancer screening can help protect your health through early detection, even if you don’t have any symptoms of the disease. Simple screening tests look for particular changes and early signs of cancer before it has developed or before any symptoms emerge. Visit cancerscreening.gov.au for more information and resources.
The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) invites eligible people starting at age 50 and continuing to age 74 (without symptoms) to screen for bowel cancer using a free, simple test at home.
Australia has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world. Around one in 23 Australians will develop bowel cancer during their lifetime.
The NBCSP aims to continue to reduce deaths from bowel cancer through early detection of the disease.
A screening test called a Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) is used to collect samples of bowel motions, which are then analysed to detect tiny traces of blood, invisible to the naked eye. The screening test cannot diagnose bowel cancer, but the results will indicate whether a further test (usually a colonoscopy) is needed to rule out bowel cancer.
Bowel cancer can be treated successfully if detected in its early stages; however, fewer than 40 per cent of bowel cancers are currently detected early. Research has shown screening for bowel cancer, using an FOBT, can reduce deaths from the disease by 15-25 per cent.
Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about bowel cancer and screening. More information can be found on the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program website.
BreastScreen uses mammography (x-ray pictures of the breast) because this is the most effective screening test to detect breast cancer. No other technology has been proven as a screening test to reduce deaths from breast cancer in the population.
BreastScreen services are conveniently located throughout Australia. Gold Coast services are permanently located at Helensvale, Southport and West Burleigh. A mobile unit also visits North Tamborine, Nerang, Elanora, Robina, Beenleigh and Beaudesert annually.
Phoning 13 20 50 will connect women to their nearest BreastScreen service to make an appointment. Eligible women can now also book online by visiting the BreastScreen Queensland website. Women do not need a doctor’s referral. Some after-hours appointments are available. Women may seek interpreter assistance when booking by first phoning the Translating and Interpreting Service (13 14 50).
BreastScreen Australia offers free screening mammograms for women aged 40 years and over.
BreastScreen specifically targets women aged between 50 and 74 years and invites them for a screening mammogram every two years. This is because the evidence of benefit is strongest in this age group. Women aged between 40 and 49 years, or 75 years and older can also have a free screening mammogram through BreastScreen services.
At a population level, screening mammograms are not effective for women under 40 years.
Some women may need different care and services that are not part of routine screening. This includes women who have:
The majority of women who have a screening mammogram will get a result of ‘no evidence of breast cancer’. Women should still continue to know the look and feel of their breasts between screening mammograms, and report any changes to their GP.
Some women will be called back for more tests because the mammogram showed an abnormality. For most of these women, subsequent tests are normal and breast cancer is not found.
Women diagnosed with breast cancer following a screening mammogram are less likely to have a mastectomy (have their breast removed). Depending on a number of factors and the stage of the cancer, other treatment options can include chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormonal therapies.
More information can be found on the BreastScreen Australia website.
BreastScreen Queensland have a number of FAQs on their website specifically for patients.
You can also call BreastScreen Queensland on 13 20 50 or make an appointment – Book Online Now.
The Cervical Screening Test is a simple procedure to check the health of your cervix. If you have ever had a Pap test, the way the test is done will feel the same.
The five-yearly Cervical Screening Test replaced the two-yearly Pap test. If you’re aged 25 to 74 you should have your first Cervical Screening Test two years after your last Pap test.
The Cervical Screening Test is more effective than the Pap test at preventing cervical cancers, because it detects human papillomavirus (known as HPV). The Pap test used to look for cell changes in the cervix, whereas the new Cervical Screening Test looks for HPV which can lead to cell changes in the cervix.
HPV is a common virus that can cause changes to cells in your cervix, which in rare cases can develop into cervical cancer.
Once you have had your first Cervical Screening Test, you will only need to have one every five years instead of every two, if your results are normal. More information can be found on the National Cervical Screening Program website