Community-led cancer screening

Community-led cancer screening

The national breast, bowel and cervical cancer screening programs seek to detect early signs of disease, either before a cancer has developed or in its early stages before any symptoms occur, when early interventions can be most successful.

Improvements in incidence and mortality rates through organised cancer screening programs depend on participation, which is variable across the region with lower participation rates for Aboriginal communities, some culturally and linguistically diverse groups and people living in areas affected by socio-economic disadvantage. Participation in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program is particularly poor.

The Department of Health and Human Services has funded a three-year Community-led Cancer Screening Program (2018-2020) aimed at increasing early detection of bowel, cervical and breast cancer by building capacity to increase participation in relevant cancer screening programs within primary care settings and through targeted community-led interventions.

Through this funding, Murray PHN is supporting a number of general practices across the region to implement quality improvement initiatives driven by local need, aimed at increasing participation in cancer screening at a community level.  Some of these activities include:

  • establishing women’s clinics to access cervical screening
  • health professional attendance at local events to provide information and follow up screening appointments
  • reviewing recall and reminder systems to ensure patients know when their routine screening is due.

Murray PHN is also working with culturally and linguistically diverse communities in Shepparton to improve understanding and awareness of screening programs to increase the uptake of participation.


Through the Community-led cancer screening program, funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, the development of a Cancer Screening Quality Improvement Tool Kit was commissioned by a consortium of three PHNs (Murray PHN; Western Victoria PHN; North Western Melbourne PHN) to support ongoing quality improvement activities within general practice.

The Toolkit aims to provide a comprehensive, step-by-step guide for health professionals in all the areas they can review to improve cancer screening participation, while having a broad remit to apply the approaches to other areas where continuous quality improvement may be considered.

Click the links below to download the Toolkit:

Click the links below to download the Toolkit in sections:

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