Screening for (pre)cancerous lesions
Australia currently has 3 national cancer screening programs based on national guidelines, which recommend regular screening for breast, cervical & colorectal cancers:
BreastScreen Australia has helped to decrease the age-standardised mortality from breast cancer by 37% between 1991 and 2010. The program enables more breast cancers to be picked up and those that are detected are found at an earlier stage, making them more treatable.
National Cervical Screening Program
The National Cervical Screening Program helps to detect cancerous and precancerous lesions such that the incidence of cervical cancer has dropped by 50% since the introduction of the national program in 1991.
National Bowel Cancer Screening Program
The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program is a more recent program which uses Faecal Occult Blood Testing (FOBT) to detect adenomas and cancerous polyps. 17% of participants in the program with a positive FOBT had polyps (either adenomas or cancerous polyps) found on colonoscopy.
Bowel cancer claims 75 Australian lives every week. If you are 50 or over, check out Cancer Council’s campaign to find out how a simple home test could help save your life. Click here to see how.
References: AIHW & AACR 2012. Cancer in Australia: an overview 2012. Cancer series no. 74. Cat. no. CAN 70. Canberra: AIHW.