Cancer Council Australia

Cancer Council publishes clinical guidelines for PSA testing

Health professionals in Australia now have access to evidence-based recommendations for using the prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test to assess prostate cancer risk and manage test-detected patients, following the publication of new clinical practice guidelines.

Developed by Cancer Council Australia’s Clinical Guidelines Network through a partnership with the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, the guidelines’ recommendations have been approved by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Published on Cancer Council’s Cancer Guidelines Wiki, the guidelines support health professionals involved in localised prostate cancer risk assessment, surveillance and treatment. Recommendations also cover matters such as retesting, active surveillance, watchful waiting and biopsy.

Though not recommended as a population screening program, the PSA test remains in widespread use. The guidelines aim to help health professionals navigate the dilemma of informing men about the risks and benefits of testing, prevent scenarios where PSA tests are conducted without patient consent and reduce over-treatment.

The recommendations were developed through a systematic review of the evidence and consensus on its interpretation by a working group of leading epidemiologists, medical and radiation oncologists, urologists, GPs, allied health professionals and consumers.

Cancer Council and the Prostate Cancer Foundation are currently working on a decision aid based on the guidelines, to assist GPs to discuss the appropriateness of PSA testing with their patients.

New guidance on sun protection and vitamin D

Cancer Council has published new guidance on how to balance sun protection to reduce skin cancer risk with maintaining vitamin D levels for good health.

Jointly developed by Cancer Council, The Australasian College of Dermatologists, Australian and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society, Osteoporosis Australia and The Endocrine Society of Australia, the position statement aims to provide clearer and simpler advice for the public.

Mixed messaging in recent years has resulted in some uncertainty in the community about how to get the right balance of sun protection and vitamin D intake. According to Cancer Council’s latest National Sun Survey, 28 per cent of Australian adults expressed concern about their vitamin D levels and a quarter had been advised by their GP to get more vitamin D.

The recommendations state that protection from the sun’s UV rays is not required when the UV Index is below 3, which is the case during winter in southern areas of Australia such as Hobart, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra and Sydney. During those periods Australians are encouraged to spend some time outdoors, preferably being physically active, in the middle of the day.

The position statement contains specific guidance for people considered at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency, for example those: with naturally very dark skinned; who live largely indoors; who have conditions causing poor absorption of calcium and vitamin D; or who cover up for religious or cultural reasons.

The position statement is available at Cancer Council’s SunSmart app for mobile devices provides advice on when you do and don’t need sun protection for locations across Australia.

Australian cancer prevalence exceeds one million

More than one million Australians are now living with cancer or have survived a diagnosis of cancer.

The new estimate, released by Cancer Council for World Cancer Day, reflects progress in healthcare but also highlights new challenges.

Around 130,000 Australians will be diagnosed with cancer this year, with 65 per cent expected to survive more than five years and many going into permanent remission.

While survival is improving, incidence is also on the rise due to population growth and population ageing. As more people are diagnosed with and live with cancer, the health system has come under increasing pressure, not just in terms of treatment issues like the cost of medicines, but meeting the ongoing physical and emotional needs of patients and survivors.

The burden of life years lost to cancer is also increasing relative to other disease groups, while inequity remains a major issue, with Australians who have certain types of cancer or fall within particular demographic/socioeconomic groups faring worse overall in treatment and care outcomes, as well as early detection and prevention.

Cancer Council will be increasing its focus in coming years on working with governments and the health professions to address system and equity issues, particularly health system efficiencies and more targeted expenditures to reduce the cancer burden in Australia.

Cancer Council and Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre – On the Road to Recovery CALD project

On the road to recovery is a collaboration designed to produce translated booklets to assist cancer patients and survivors from cultural and linguistically diverse communities.

Developed by Cancer Council in conjunction with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, the project has been supported with funding from Cancer Australia.

Stage one of the project saw production booklets on cancer survivorship in Cantonese, Mandarin and Greek, drawing from Cancer Council’s ‘Understanding Cancer’ series, including: Living well after cancer; Emotions and cancer; Coping with cancer fatigue; Cancer, work and you; Cancer care and your rights; and Understanding complementary therapies.

Stage two is now complete with publication of bilingual booklets for the Arabic and Vietnamese speaking communities.

Booklets are available from the Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, through Cancer Council 13 11 20 Information and Support, or online in PDF format at

For details contact Jane Roy on 02 8063 4100 or

Clinical Guidelines Network

Cancer Council Australia aims to produce concise, clinically relevant and up-to-date electronic clinical practice guidelines for health professionals, accessible on its wiki platform at

For more information or to be added to the mailing list for notification of guidelines open for public consultation or guidelines launches, please email

Guideline news

Following their publication in January, Clinical practice guidelines for PSA testing and early management of test-detected prostate cancer have been endorsed by a number of professional colleges and societies.

Endorsements to date include The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia, Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand, The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists and Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine.

Health professional organisations interested in endorsing the guidelines can contact the Head, Clinical Guidelines Network, on 02 8063 4100 or email

Guidelines in development



National Cervical Screening Program: Guidelines for the management of screen detected abnormalities, screening in specific populations and investigation of abnormal vaginal bleeding

Finalisation of guidelines post public consultation. Email to be notified when the guidelines are published.

Clinical practice guidelines for the prevention, diagnosis and management of lung cancer

Systematic reviews in progress

Clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of melanoma

Systematic reviews in progress

Clinical practice guidelines for the prevention, early detection and management of colorectal cancer

Systematic reviews in progress

Clinical practice guidelines for the management of sarcoma in AYA

Systematic reviews in progress


Cancer Council Australia guidelines


Last updated

Clinical practice guidelines for PSA testing and management of test-detected prostate cancer

August 2015

Clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of Barrett’s oesophagus and early oesophageal adenocarcinoma

September 2014

Clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of lung cancer

December 2012 (update in progress)

Management of apparent early stage endometrial cancer

March 2012

Clinical practice guidelines for surveillance colonoscopy

December 2011

Clinical practice guidelines for the management of adult onset sarcoma

February 2015

Clinical practice guidelines for the management of locally advanced and metastatic prostate cancer

April 2010


Clinical Oncology Society of Australia guidelines


Last updated

Clinical practice guidelines for teleoncology

December 2015

Diagnosis and management of gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumours guidance

August 2012

Evidence-based practice guidelines for the nutritional management of adult patients with head and neck cancer

August 2013

Early detection of cancer in AYAs

May 2012

AYA cancer fertility preservation

September 2012

Psychosocial management of AYA cancer patients

June 2012


Other guidelines


Last updated

Cancer pain management

August 2013

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