The 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 in the target age group. Participation in cancer screening programs is variable across the state 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 Community-led cancer screening program aims to increase 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
The following key principles have contributed to the design of this program and will drive key outcomes:
- Equity: an equity lens will be used throughout all program initiatives to ensure under-screened group needs are the key priority
- Locally driven initiatives: through local area commissioning the unique needs of community can be addressed, implemented and integrated at a local level allowing for flexibility to tailor initiatives appropriately
- Partnerships: genuine partnerships and collaboration will be fostered at all levels of the program
- Sustainability: successful initiatives will be planned to endure beyond the scope of program.
The Community-led cancer screening program is being implemented across the following regions:
- Gippsland PHN
- Murray PHN
- North Western Melbourne PHN
- Western Victoria PHN
The program forms part of the Victorian Under-Screened Program Strategic Directions 2016-2020 and builds upon learnings from the Under-Screened Recruitment Program 2014-2016 to address disparities in cancer screening.
The implementation of the community led under screening project is supported by the Victorian Government.