National Cancer Screening Programs

National Bowel Cancer Screening Program | National Cervical Screening Program | BreastScreen

National Bowel Cancer Screening Program

Bowel cancer can often be found at an early stage when treatment is more likely to cure the disease. Bowel cancer screening involves testing people without any obvious symptoms of bowel cancer. The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program invites eligible Australians starting at age 50 and continuing to age 74 (without symptoms) to screen for bowel cancer every two years using a free, simple test at home. The test checks for tiny traces of invisible blood in your poo, and a "positive" test usually requires further follow-up, such as a colonoscopy.

Invitees' names are drawn from either the Medicare or Department of Veterans' Affairs enrolment records.

You can check your eligibility or find out more about the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program by visiting or calling the Infoline on 1800 627 701.

Participants may be eligible to receive up to two replacement kits.

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National Cervical Screening Program

Australia has one the world's lowest rates of cervical cancer mortality, largely due our effectiveness cervical cancer screening program.

In December 2017, the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) changed from two yearly Pap smears to five yearly Cervical Screening Tests for women aged 25-74.

This was based on an independent review by the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC), which concluded that an HPV test every five years is more effective, just as safe and was estimated to result in over 20 per cent reduction in incidence and mortality from cervical cancer in Australian women compared to the program it replaces, based on two yearly Pap smears.

Changes to the National Cervical Screening Program are good news for women as the test is more accurate, can be done less often and can start at 25 years of age.

Healthcare providers will still perform an examination using a vaginal speculum and take a sample, but the sample medium is liquid-based and will be tested for the presence of HPV. For the participant, if they have ever had a Pap test before, the way the test is done will feel the same.

Health providers should regularly check for updates to the 2016 National Cervical Screening Program: Guidelines for the management of screen-detected abnormalities, screening in specific populations and investigation of abnormal vaginal bleeding. The latest version is available on Cancer Council Australia's Cancer Guidelines Wiki.

More information can be found on the NCSP website.

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BreastScreen WA invites Western Australian women aged 50 to 74 years, with no breast symptoms, to screen for breast cancer every two years with a free screening mammogram.

Women aged 40 to 49 years or 75 and over are also eligible to attend.

Over 75% of breast cancers occur in women over 50 years of age.

For more information at visit or visit BreastScreen WA.

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