Promoting Cancer Screenings to Improve Early Detection Rates

The Hon Greg Hunt MP

Minister for Health and Aged Care

The Australian Government is increasing its efforts to promote cancer screenings to support and improve outcomes for all Australians, including $9.7 million for a new National Bowel Cancer Screening Program awareness campaign.

The campaign will aim to increase the numbers of Australians taking their free bowel cancer test and will focus on men aged 50 to 59 years, people living in regional and remote Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and individuals from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities.

Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers in Australia and is more common in people over the age of 50. Each year, more than 15,000 cases are diagnosed and more than 5,000 lives are lost to bowel cancer.

When detected early, however, the great majority (around 90%) of bowel cancers can be successfully treated.

Bowel cancer is one of the types of cancer targeted by Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, Cancer Council Australia’s flagship event.

In 2020, the Biggest Morning Tea was hit hard by COVID-19. I encourage everyone to hold a morning tea or take part in one this year, in a COVID safe way.

Cancer Council Australia does fantastic work raising funds for research, funding prevention initiatives, communicating about cancer prevention and screening, and most importantly, providing support to people diagnosed with cancer.

Our Government is increasing its efforts on cancer screening to help more Australians to get early treatment and beat the disease.

As part of the 2021-22 Budget we announced a number of measures to support our already strong national cancer screening programs, including:

  • more than $100 million to improve early detection of breast and cervical cancer, which includes $67 million to continue the expansion of BreastScreen Australia’s mammogram services to women aged 70 to74 years.
  • $6.9 million in 2021-22 to establish the feasibility of a new national lung cancer program, and to trial new cancer care nurses for lung cancer patients; and
  • $32.8 million with the aim of eliminating cervical cancer in Australia by 2035, through the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP).

Last month, we also held a Ministerial Roundtable with Cancer Australia, the first step in the development of a visionary ten-year Australian Cancer Plan.

The Plan will set out the key national priorities and action areas over the next 10 years to improve outcomes for Australian’s affected by cancer. It will also cover prevention, early diagnosis, treatment and palliative care, while providing for the unique needs of specific cancer types and populations.

These initiatives consolidate Australia as a world leader in the early detection of cancer.

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