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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 and people with a cervix 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.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are 1.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with any type of cancer and have a five-year survival rate that is 15 per cent lower, at just 50 per cent, than the rest of the Australian population.

Here at Cancer Council SA, we are committed to change that statistic.

Through our Aboriginal Cancer Screening Program, we work collaboratively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in a respectful and meaningful way to improve health outcomes and educate people on how to cut their cancer risk.

Our programs cover cancer risk factors, early detection, ongoing treatment and support services, ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a greater chance at preventing or surviving a cancer diagnosis.

Cancer Council SA’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Screening program aims to promote bowel and breast screening along with well women’s checks. We also can facilitate connections with health professionals and organisations who can provide these checks.

All women:

  • Aged 25 – 74 should book a well women’s check every five years.
  • Aged 50 – 74 should have a free screening mammogram every two years through BreastScreen SA (women from 40 are also eligible to attend).
  • Aged 50 – 74 should book a bowel cancer screening test every two years.

All men:

  • Aged 50 – 74 should book a bowel screening test every two years.

Want to find out more about how to cut your cancer risk?

Download our free brochures on Cancer Council’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander screening program and learn more about  maintaining a healthy lifestyle and the programs we offer.

Visit Cancer Council Australia’s website for further resources.


More resources

Visit SA Health for more bowel screening resources, including a printable handout for Aboriginal men and women on how to do the test and what happens when the result is positive.

To order a demonstration bowel cancer home test kit email

For more resources for general practice and Aboriginal Health Organisations visit the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program website. 

There are some cancer risk factors that you can’t change—like age, family history or previous medical history.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t lower your cancer risk in other ways. One in three cancers can be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle.

Lifestyle factors and cancer

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