News and Education for health professionals


Breast and bowel cancer screening in women over 50

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It is estimated 40% of cancer could be prevented through interventions that lead to healthy diet and weight, regular physical activity and avoidance of tobacco products.

When talking about cancer preventive healthcare this includes the primary prevention of illness, the early detection of specific cancers, and preventive measures in patients already diagnosed with cancer. Preventive care in cancer is based on a partnership between a GP and a patient who together aim to maintain or improve health.

Questions asked in the video

  • Introduction 0:00
  • What is the prevalence and mortality of breast cancer in women over 50 and how might screening be making a difference? 0:59
  • How does this compare to the way screening might be affecting the incidence and mortality of bowel cancer? 1:25
  • What are some of the main risk factors for breast cancer? 2:50
  • What are the main risk factors associated with bowel cancer? 3:37
  • Can you outline the difference between screening and diagnostic services? 4:56
  • Outline the pathways following the initial steps of screening. 7:18
  • What are the clear benefits to our female patients aged over 50 being involved in organised screening for breast cancer and what are the limitations of breast screen? 8:52
  • How is it beneficial for patients over the age of 50 to be involved in organised screening for bowel cancer? Are there any limitations involved with Faecal Occult Blood Testing? 9:59
  • What is the role of the GP in the breast screening process? 11:10
  • And for bowel screen testing, how can the GP be involved in the program? 11:39
  • Video Summary (PDF)


Bowel cancer screening

In 2017, men and women aged 50, 54, 55, 58, 60, 64, 68, 70, 72, 74 will be eligible to participate in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program. By 2020, those aged between 50 and 74 years will be invited to participate in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program every two years.



1. Guidelines for preventive activities in general practice, 8th ed. East Melbourne: Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, 2012.

2. BreastScreen and You (2013)