Cancer Council Australia

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General advice



Treatment can be more effective when cancer is found early. Keep an eye out for any unusual changes to your body, such as:

  • lumpiness or a thickened area in your breasts, any changes in the shape or colour of your breasts, unusual nipple discharge, a nipple that turns inwards (if it hasn't always been that way) or any unusual pain.
  • a lump in the neck, armpit or anywhere else in the body.
  • sores or ulcers that don't heal.
  • coughs or hoarseness that won't go away or coughing up blood.
  • changes in toilet habits that last more than two weeks, blood in a bowel motion.
  • new moles or skin spots, or ones that have changed shape, size or colour, or that bleed.
  • unusual vaginal discharge or bleeding.
  • unexplained weight loss.

If you notice any changes, see your doctor immediately. For more information, see Cancer Council Australia’s early detection fact sheets, or call Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20.

Remember there are free screening programs available for breast cancer, cervical cancer and bowel cancer.

Click here to see whether you are eligible.


Information for health policy makers

Cancer Council Australia has a range of policy documents that address the early detection of cancer.

National Cancer Prevention Policy

Cancer Council Australia’s National Cancer Prevention Policy provides evidence-based information for health professionals and policy makers on early detection and screening for cancer. It offers clear recommendations on how Australia can reduce the burden of cancer disease and death.

The National Cancer Prevention Policy advocates for a concerted and comprehensive national approach to the prevention of cancer. The policy makes specific recommendations for national action by governments and non-government organisations, including programs and strategies to reduce the incidence and mortality of cancer in Australia. It does not provide information about cancer prevention for individuals.

Cancer Council position statements

Cancer Council Australia has developed a range of evidence-based position statements to communicate our position on key cancer issues.

Position statements are developed by Cancer Council’s expert committees and are based on the evidence available. All statements are reviewed regularly, in accordance with Cancer Council Australia’s position statements policy.


This page was last updated on: Monday, September 15, 2014