Get checked for cancer
Cancer screening saves lives. It helps to keep our communities strong, safe and healthy.
Click on the headings below to learn about screening.
Cancer screening makes a big difference to the health of our community members and families. It is important to screen even when you are healthy. If cancer is found early, treatment can be a lot more effective.
Have a yarn with your GP or Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander health worker about cancer screening for you and your family.
Everything you discuss with your doctor is private and confidential – they can’t share your information with anyone unless you ask them to.
National screening programs are available in Australia for bowel cancer, breast cancer and cervical cancer.
If you are aged 50–74, free bowel cancer screening kits are sent to your home every two years.
The test will look for traces of blood in your poo, which could be an early sign of bowel cancer or another health condition. The test is clean and easy to do. And comes with instructions.
If your result comes back positive, it is not a cancer diagnosis. There are lots of reason you could have blood in your poo, and most of these are not related to cancer. It’s important to see your health worker as soon as possible so they can discuss your result and get you the right information.
If you don’t receive the test you can order one online or over the phone by calling 1800 627 701. If you have any questions or are worried about doing the test, you can talk to your health worker who will be able to help you.
BreastScreen NSW recommends that Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander women aged 40-74 have a free two-yearly mammogram.
A mammogram is an x-ray of your breast. It can find cancers as small as a grain of rice, before you notice any changes in your breast.
Screening takes just 20 minutes. You don’t need a doctors referral and can organise your own appointment here.
Women aged 75 years and over can also have a free mammogram, however you should see speak with your health worker first to see if it’s a good choice for you.
If you have received an invitation to have your mammogram, you should make an appointment as soon as you can.
Cervical screening is for women and people with a cervix with no symptoms of cervical cancer, aged 25–74. You should make sure you have your Cervical Screening Test every 5 years. The Cervical Screening Test is quick and easy and can help you avoid cervical cancer.
If you haven’t had a cervical screening test since December 2017, you are overdue, so it’s time to have one now.
There are two options for having a Cervical Screening Test:
- A doctor or nurse can collect your sample for testing, or
- You can collect your own sample for testing.
Self-collection means you can take your own cervical screening test using a cotton-tipped swab that you insert into your vagina. The health worker will give you the swab and explain how to take the test. This is very safe and accurate.
The test only takes a few minutes and is done in private. You can ask for a female doctor or nurse.
If you are due or overdue, or think you might be, contact your healthcare worker.
What should I do now?
If you’ve got your bowel screening kit sitting in the drawer, received your invitation to have a mammogram, or know it’s time to visit your health worker for your cervical screening, don’t delay. The tests are easy to do and are important to help keep our community strong and families together.
We would also encourage you to reach out to your health worker, Aboriginal Medical Service, or other services in your area if you need more information. Doctors and health workers are there to support and look after you.
Visit Cancer Council NSW’s website to learn how you can get screened regularly.