Cancer Screening

Program Officers
Lauren Walker |
Stephanie Walker |


On average, one-in-two people in NSW will be diagnosed with a form of cancer by the age of 85 (CINSW 2018). Cancer is now the largest cause of mortality in Australia, surpassing cardiovascular disease (AIHW 2016).

Improving cancer screening rates and reducing cancer risk in our population are therefore key priorities. Cancer screening programs are key to reducing mortality.

Population-based screening is where a screening test is offered systematically to all individuals in the defined target group (following a quality management framework).

There are three population-based cancer screening programs in Australia for bowel, breast and cervical cancer. Population-based cancer screening is the ‘use of simple tests across a healthy population in order to identify individuals who have disease, but do not yet have symptoms’ (WHO 2015).

Our Cancer Screening and Prevention Programs work with primary care and other key stakeholders to increase cancer screening rates and reduce the prevalence of specific risk factors in target populations. In particular, our cancer screening and prevention programs aim to improve participation in the three national screening programs. This involves integrated, cancer-focused strategies in program areas such as quality improvementchronic disease management, and practice management and accreditation.


Cancer screening resources


GPs in our region have reported that low levels of health literacy around cancer screening, especially in culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) groups, makes having conversations about screening with patients more challenging considering the time restraints in general practice. New resources have been developed that may assist with this.

The aim of the newly developed information leaflet and five videos is to increase community health literacy around cancer screening, specifically in CALD groups, and to encourage people to discuss screening with their GPs and practice nurses. We will be disseminating these resources within the community and are offering the resources to general practices.

The resources were developed with funding support from the Cancer Institute and were a joint initiative by Central and Eastern Sydney PHN, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD) and Advance Diversity Services. The resources were co-designed by culturally and linguistically diverse community focus groups. The resources reinforce the message that “Taking care of yourself is the best way of looking after your family”, a message that the focus groups felt would resonate with their communities.


Resources for Printing and distribution

The print resource/brochure addresses bowel, breast and cervical screening and are available in 12 community languages (Arabic, Bengali, Chinese -simplified and traditional, Greek, Indonesian, Italian, Korean, Nepali, Spanish, Thai and Vietnamese). Messages and design were specifically selected by the community groups for optimal impact and informed by subject specialists.

The English brochure can be viewed here

  pdf Click here (2.22 MB) to download the A3/A4 poster. 

  pdf Click here (2.24 MB) to download the A0 poster. 

The English trifold brochure can be viewed pdf here. (3.35 MB)  

In-language colour brochures are available in:

If you would like to order copies of this resource for your practice, please email either or stating:

  • Number required
  • Language required
  • A3 or A4 poster order and which language this should be in.


Audio-visual resources

The audio-visual resources consist of five videos. Two of the videos focus specifically on the breast and cervical screening programs and have been developed for women from Bangladeshi and Nepalese backgrounds. These videos are available in English, Bengali and Nepali. The third video also includes additional information on bowel screening and, although targeted to people from South Asian communities, is suitable for anyone seeking information on these screening programs.

‘Screening saves lives’: Cancer screening audio-visual resources for culturally and linguistically diverse communities can be accessed through the SESLHD YouTube page (links below) but can be made available for use in your practice waiting area as requested. Pleaseplease email either or stating which video/s you would like and what format they should be in.

If you have any comments or questions or would like to request support for any initiatives in your practice relating to cancer screening please do not hesitate toplease email either or