Cancer Screening


Across South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network catchment, the bowel screening participation rate is slightly higher than the Victorian average (Figure 1). Breast cancer screening participation rates for Port Phillip, Casey South and Stonnington West are among the five lowest in the state. Bowel cancer screening participation rates for Casey South and Stonnington West are among the five lowest in the state. 

Cancer screening participation rates in SEMPHN region - Figure 1


Bowel cancer screening 2015-16

Breast cancer screening 2015-16

Cervical cancer screening 2015-16

Victoria 41.9% 53.8% 56.6%
SEMPHN * 39.3% 51.3% 57.7%
Bayside 44.0% 54.9% 70.9%
Cardinia 39.9% 50.8% 55.7%
Casey - North 38.2% 53.0% 55.9%
Casey - South 34.6% 47.2% 50.8%
Dandenong 36.8% 49.6% 51.1%
Frankston 38.2% 47.4% 52.9%
Glen Eira 37.6% 53.8% 60.0%
Kingston 40.8% 54.6% 62.0%
Mornington Peninsula 44.8% 54.4% 61.7%
Port Phillip 37.7% 46.6% 59.5%
Stonnington - East  41.3% 54.6% 62.1%
Stonnington - West  36.4% 44.8% 61.5%

* SEMPHN participation rate is calculated on an average of the 12 listed SA3s.


Note on data: These rates reflect participation in national cancer screening programs and do not include other screening, for example private mammography or faecal occult blood test (FOBTs) undertaken outside the program.

Clinical Practice Guidelines for the prevention, early detection and management of Bowel, Breast and Cervical Cancer

Bowel Cancer

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) have approved the 2017 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention, Early Detection and Management of Colorectal Cancer.

These Guidelines provide information and recommendations to guide practice across the continuum of bowel cancer care including prevention, screening and diagnosis, clinical aspects of surgery, treatment, follow-up and psychosocial care.

Read more about the role of general practice in bowel cancer screening

Breast Cancer

The BreastScreen Australia program aims to reduce illness and death from breast cancer through early detection of the disease. Screening mammography detects unsuspected cancer at an early stage so that prompt treatment can occur. 

Cancer Australia have two web pages that provide guidance in early detection and treatment of breast cancer.

Investigation of a new breast symptom - a guide for general practitioners

Clinical practice guidelines for the management of early breast cancer (2nd ed.)

Cervical Cancer

The Australian Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) recommended that the 2005 NHRMC endorsed, Screening to Prevent Cervical Cancer: Guidelines for the Management of Women with Screen Detected Abnormalities guidelines be reviewed. Cancer Council Australia was commissioned to develop these guidelines with the assistance of an expert “clinical management guidelines” working party. Technical support from Professor Karen Canfell and her Cancer Screening Group at Cancer Council NSW was provided in the review.

The guidelines have been developed and published by Cancer Council Australia in accordance with NHMRC recommended processes.

National Cervical Screening Program: Guidelines for the management of screen-detected abnormalities, screening in specific populations and investigation of abnormal vaginal bleeding.

Read more about the National Cervical Screening Program. 

Optimal Care Pathways

SEMPHN is part of a state-wide initiative to localise Optimal Care Pathways supported by the Victorian Government. The Pathways have been developed to help people diagnosed with cancer receive the best possible care. Optimal Care Pathways have been developed to map a patients optimal cancer journey across 15 different cancer types. Find further information and the pathways here

Related reading

- Population-based cancer screening

- Report: The role of primary and community based healthcare professionals in early detection and follow up in cancer care: a rapid review of best practice models

Cancer survivorship care

The Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre (ACSC) has developed recommendations for implementing and delivering shared cancer survivorship care.

There are 18 practical recommendations, which are a result of a systematic review, qualitative study and expert consultation:

Click to view the summary (2pp) and full (6pp) versions.

For further information on models of survivorship care, click here.

Breast, Bowel and Cervical Cancer Screening webinar (1 hour)

SEMPHN hosted a Practice Nurses Webinar where participants tuned into the 'B.B.C. Cancer Channel'. Guest speakers from Cancer Council Victoria and Breast Screen Victoria presented on Breast, Bowel and Cervical Screening.

Certificates for this course are only available to the participants of the live webinar.

View the webinar here

Cancer Council Victoria's online component

This online educational component is designed to support General Practice to implement the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP). The information is targeted towards GPs, practice nurses and practice managers which will enable a coordinated practice-wide approach. 

The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program is an important health initiative and aims to reduce illness and death from bowel cancer through early detection or prevention of the disease. Bowel cancer is one of only three cancers for which population screening is available nationally in Australia.

Learning objectives:

  • Be aware of why GP practices need to endorse participation in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program and be able to explain to patients the risks of not completing the test.
  • Be familiar with the impact GPs can have on bowel cancer screening rates.
  • Have access to the resources your practice needs to encourage patients to screen for bowel cancer.
  • Have increased knowledge of key points from the national colorectal guidelines and links to further clinical information.

Access the online component here.


- Cancer Screening – National Screening Program (Bowel, Breast and Cervical)

- BreastScreen Victoria (Health professionals)

- Cancer Council Victoria - Resources for Health Professionals

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