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Early detection and screening for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

Cancer screening saves lives

Early detection and screening for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

Cancer Screening saves lives. It helps to keep our communities strong, safe and healthy.

It’s really important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to keep taking care of our health, even during a pandemic.

COVID-19 has been on everyone’s mind and the safety of our communities has been a major priority. Cancer screening may have been put off or forgotten during this time.

However, cancer screening really does make a big difference to the health of our community members and families. When cancer is found early, treatment can be a lot more effective.

National screening programs are available in Australia for breast cancer, bowel cancer and cervical cancer.

Bowel cancer screening

If you are aged 50-74, bowel cancer screening kits are sent to your home every two years. If you have received a bowel cancer screening kit this year, do the test today.

Cervical cancer screening

Anyone aged 25-74 should make sure they have their cervical screening test. The test changed in December 2017 and if the new test is negative you will only need to be screened every five years. If you haven’t had a cervical screening test since December 2017, you are overdue, so it’s time to have one now.

Women aged 30 years or older who have not been screened for four years or longer can also have their screening test done on a self-collected sample. Self-collection means you can take your own cervical screening test using a cotton-tipped swab that you insert into your vagina. Your practitioner will provide you with a swab and explain how to take the test. Self‑collection is a safe and effective option for women who do not feel comfortable having a speculum exam. 

If you are due or overdue, or think you might be, contact your GP or healthcare worker

Breast cancer screening

BreastScreen Australia invites women aged 50-74 to have a free two-yearly mammography. Women aged 40-49 and 75 years and over are also eligible for free mammography but do not receive an invitation.  

If you have received an invitation to have your breast screening you should make an appointment as soon as you can.

There is information about screening for our communities on this page.

We would also encourage you to reach out to your doctor, local GP, Aboriginal Medical Service, or other services in your area to learn more and act now.

Doctors and health workers are there to support and look after you. 

The following are links to more information about the cancer screening programs:

Explore more resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

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