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National cancer screening programs are available in Australia to detect bowel, breast and cervical cancer. These cancers are very treatable when found early.

Cancer screening tests are available free of charge to eligible people. The aim of cancer screening tests is to detect very early cancers in healthy individuals, who do not have symptoms. Research shows that these cancer screening tests are the best tools available for detecting breast, bowel, and cervical cancer early, saving more lives.

Cancer Council SA recommends:

  • that men and women aged 50–74 complete a Faecal Occult Blood Test through the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program every two years to find the early signs of bowel cancer.
  • that women aged 50-74 have a breast screen with BreastScreen SA every two years to detect breast cancer early.
  • that women aged 25-74 have a Cervical Screening Test (sometimes called a Well Women’s Check) through a doctor’s clinic or women’s health clinic every five years to check the health of their cervix.

As a health professional, you can play an important role in encouraging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients to participate in the national cancer screening programs.

The videos below provide more information about the cancer screening programs and include tips on encouraging your clients to participate.

Bowel cancer screening

Breast cancer screening

Well Women’s check

These videos were generously funded by Adelaide PHN and developed in collaboration with Wellbeing SA and the Aboriginal Health Council of SA

PHN Adelaide

Wellbeing SA

Aboriginal Health Council of SA logo

Top tips for creating a welcoming environment in your practice:

  • display a symbol, such as flags, to show that your space is inclusive.
  • undertake workplace cultural awareness training.
  • spend time yarning with your clients to build rapport and trust.
  • preface sensitive questions to allow your clients to prepare before responding.
  • observe body language and facial expressions and rephrase comments or questions if needed.
  • avoid using jargon, rushing and asking too many questions all at once.
  • ensure clients understand their information is kept private and all conversations are confidential.
  • respect the cultural sensitivities, ask clients whether they would prefer a male or female health worker.

For more information about the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program and the National Cervical Screening Program visit ncsr.gov.au.

For more information about having a breast screen visit breastscreen.sa.gov.au.


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