Screening services

Cancer screening can help detect cancer early, before it develops or symptoms appear. There are three national cancer screening programs.

National Bowel Cancer Screening Program

Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in Australia. However, if detected early, approximately 90 per cent of cases can be effectively treated.

Bowel screening involves testing for bowel cancer in people who do not have any obvious symptoms of the disease. The aim is to find cancers early when they are easier to treat and cure. Screening can also find polyps, which may develop into cancer over time.

The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program invites eligible Australians aged between 50-74 to complete a free screening test in the privacy of their own home. If you are over the age of 50, Cancer Council Queensland recommends you are screened for bowel cancer with a faecal occult blood test (FOBT) every two years.

Find out more about the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.

Resources for talking about bowel cancer and bowel screening with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are available here. An alternative pathway is being trialed by 50 primary health centres as part of the National Indigenous Bowel Screening pilot. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will continue to be sent FOBT kits in the mail when they are eligible unless they are provided with a kit by their health service.

Find out more about the National Indigenous Bowel Screening pilot.

Remember, if you have any symptoms or a family history of bowel cancer, speak to your GP.

BreastScreen Australia

Breast cancer affects more Australian women than any other cancer. Early detection of breast cancer provides the best chance of treatment and survival.

If you are aged between 50-74, Cancer Council Queensland recommends you complete a free mammogram through BreastScreen Queensland every two years, in addition to being breast aware.

BreastScreen Australia invites women aged 50-74 to have free two-yearly mammogram, however women aged 40 to 49, and 75 years and over, can also attend. Their services are offered multiple locations across Queensland, including purpose-built vehicles to reach women in rural and remote regions.

Find out more about BreastScreen Australia. To make an appointment call BreastScreen on 13 20 50.

National Cervical Screening Program

The Australian Government’s National Cervical Screening Program has changed to improve early detection and save more lives. From 1 December 2017 all women or anyone with a cervix aged between 25 and 74 years are invited to have a Cervical Screening Test every five years.

Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers. The new Cervical Screening Test is expected to reduce cervical cancer rates and deaths by at least 20%.

The test is a simple procedure to check the health of your cervix. It looks and feels the same as the pap test, but tests for the human papillomavirus (known as HPV).

Your first Cervical Screening Test is due when you turn 25 or  two years after your last pap test. After that, you will only need to have the test every five years if your results are normal.

Even if you are vaccinated against HPV you still need to participate in regular cervical screening.

The combination of the HPV vaccine and regular cervical screening is your best protection against cervical cancer.

Anyone with symptoms such as unusual bleeding, discharge or pain should see their health care professional immediately, regardless of when you were last screened.

If you are due for testing, contact your healthcare provider to book an appointment. For more information about the National Cervical Screening Program call 13 15 56.

For more information visit Cancer Council Cervical Screening or the National Cervical Screening Program.

More information

For more information about national cancer screening programs call Cancer Council 13 11 20 .

The information available on this page should not be used as a substitute for advice from a properly qualified medical professional who can advise you about your own individual medical needs. It is not intended to constitute medical advice and is provided for general information purposes only. See our disclaimer.