Cancer Screening


Across South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network footprint, the bowel screening participation rate is slightly higher than the Victorian average (Figure 1), while breast and cervical screening participation in SEMPHN is lower than the Victorian average. The SA3 areas of Port Phillip, Casey South and Stonnington West have participation rates for breast screening among the five lowest in the state. Casey South and Stonnington West have rates for bowel screening among the five lowest in the state. Casey South also features in the five lowest SA3 cervical screening participation rates.

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.

Breast Cancer

The BreastScreen Australia program aims to reduce illness and death from breast cancer through a systematic approach with the aim of early detection using screening mammography. Screening mammography detects unsuspected cancer at an early stage so that prompt treatment can reduce illness and death from breast cancer.

Cancer Australia have two web pages that provide guidance in early detection and treament 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.

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.

Resources have been developed for both patients and health professionals and describe the key stages in a patient’s cancer journey from diagnosis to survivorship or end of life care and describes the key principles and expected standards of care at each point. The guides have been endorsed by the National Cancer Expert Reference Group, Cancer Australia and Cancer Council Australia. Patients, their family and carers can use the consumer versions to better understand an often complex health system, and to know what questions to ask of their health professionals to ensure they receive the best care at every step.

Optimal Care Pathways Include:

Implementing Pathways for Cancer Early Diagnosis (I-PACED)

The Cancer Council Victoria and The University of Melbourne Department of General Practice have developed a resource package to increase early cancer detection and decrease late presentation of the cancer types below and highlight recommendations in the Optimal Care Pathways. The resources provide information and tools to increase GP awareness about:

  • Prevention and risk factors relevant to each cancer
  • Screening/testing recommendations, including PSA testing decision aid which may assist in conversations with asymptomatic men
  • Evidence-based risk assessment tools to help assess patients with symptoms associated with prostate and oesophagogastric cancer, and to identify possible high risk patients

To view copies of the I-PACED resources, please click on the links below. Alternatively, you can This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to obtain hard copies of the resources (SEMPHN catchment only).

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

- BreastScreen Victoria (Screening Bookings)

- Cancer Council Victoria - Resources for Health Professionals

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