Prevention, Screening & Early Detection

There are national information statements on the National Cancer Screening website around generic screening and early detection.  Please click here for further information on these.


The Population Based Screening Framework

The Population Based Screening Framework was developed by the Screening Subcommittee of the Australian Population Health Development Principal Committee (APHDPC) of the Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council (AHMAC). This framework was devised to inform decision makers on key issues considered when assess potential screening program in Australia. Please click here to gain access to this important framework.


The World Health Organisation

WHO resources on cancer prevention - 'At least one-third of all cancer cases are preventable.  Prevention offers the most cost-effective long-term strategy for the control of cancer' - read what the WHO has to say on cancer prevention by clicking here

WHO resources on screening and early detection - 'Early detection of cancer greatly increases the chances for successful treatment' - read what the WHO has to say on screening and early detection by clicking here  


For information on healthy lifestyle choices such as exercise, nutrition, QUIT and more - please visit our Healthy Living webpage

Symptoms of breast and bowel cancers -

Bowel cancer

Bowel Cancer Screening Pathway

Breast cancer

From time to time you may find breast changes, such as:

  • a lump or lumpiness;
  • any change in the shape or appearance of the breast such as dimpling or redness;
  • an area that feels different to the rest;
  • a discharge from the nipple;
  • any change in the shape or appearance of the nipple such as pulling in or scaliness (nipple inversion or retraction); or
  • pain.

Many women are concerned that a breast change might be breast cancer. Even though this will not be true in most cases, it is very important that all breast changes are carefully investigated. If it is cancer, finding it early will mean a much better chance of effective treatment.

If you notice a breast change or experience a breast symptom you should see your doctor without delay. A doctor will do a clinical breast examination and refer you for further tests such as a diagnostic mammogram or ultrasound if needed. These tests require a doctor's referral and may be performed in a private radiology practice or a public hospital.


The difference between screening (asymptomatic individuals) and diagnosing symptoms


  • For 'well' people without symptoms to detect unsuspected lesions
  • Emphasis is on mass population screening to reduce overall mortality and morbidity

Diagnosing symptoms

  • For diagnosing changes or abnormalities that may have been detected through awareness and/or clinical examination
  • Emphasis is on individual diagnosis for people with symptoms

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