Cancer Council Australia

Public health priorities

Cancer Council Australia continues to develop and promote evidence-based public policy recommendations spanning the cancer control spectrum. Current public health priorities include measures to increase participation in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program and to prepare for a change in cervical screening practice in 2017.

National Bowel Cancer Screening Program

By 2020, the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program will be available to all Australians aged 50 to 74 as a biennial screening program. This year, 72 and 64 year-olds are being added to the program, joining those aged 50, 55, 60, 65, 70 and 74. From 2017, all eligible age groups will begin the transition to biennial screening.

Participation has been steadily increasing, with the rescreening rate particularly high. Cancer Council is working closely with government to maximise program participation, with particular interest in preparing for the transition to biennial screening in 2017. Cancer Council also continues work on its health professional engagement strategy to support the program’s effectiveness. GP support and engagement are critical to the program’s success and are the subject of ongoing policy and communications activity.

Cervical screening renewal

Cancer Council is developing new guidelines to support the anticipated change in cervical screening practice next year, using HPV testing as the principal screening tool. Cancer Council will also be developing information resources to support the change, and will be working to ensure Australian women continue to participate in the Pap test based program until the changes are introduced.

Population attributable fraction analysis

Another key focus in public health is the ongoing promotion of Cancer Council’s ground-breaking Population attributable fraction analysis of cancer incidence and causal association in Australia. The analysis is assisting in the prioritisation of Cancer Council’s public policy recommendations aimed at reducing the impact of modifiable cancer risk factors.

Healthcare reform

In the clinical and patient care environment, Cancer Council continues to evaluate the evidence and develop recommendations on the provision of more equitable and sustainable specialist cancer services and improved access to high-cost cancer drugs.

Cancer Council is also engaged in the broader healthcare reform agenda, including ongoing reviews of the primary care sector and Medicare.

Study links processed and red meats to cancer

A new study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer has found that consuming processed meats (such as bacon, salami and ham) is a cause of bowel cancer and that red meat in general is probably carcinogenic to humans.

Chair of the International Agency of Research on Cancer working group and scientific adviser to Cancer Council Australia, Professor Bernard Stewart, said the review looked at more than 1000 studies in order to provide clear, evidence-based information to health organisations and the public.

Professor Stewart said the evidence did not support complete abstinence from red meat. “We aren’t recommending a ban on bacon or taking the beef off the barbecue altogether,” he said. “But this latest advice should help make Australians more aware of the cancer risks associated with long-term excess red meat and processed meat consumption.”

Chair of Cancer Council Australia’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Committee, Kathy Chapman, said red and processed meats were associated with around one in six bowel cancers diagnosed in Australia and Cancer Council supported the National Health and Medical Research Council’s recommendation that people ate no more than 65 to 100 grams of cooked red meat, three-to-four times a week.

Research sheds light on skin cancer prevention challenges

After years of sun protection campaigns Australians are well aware of the need to be SunSmart at the beach – however new research released by Cancer Council in November has highlighted two new skin damage hotspot frontiers to be tackled – outdoor work and the home/backyard. 

New data from Cancer Council’s National Sun Survey released in November showed that one in two Aussie sunburns on a weekend occur during everyday activities – like gardening, chores around the house or socialising in the backyard.

The survey also showed that there has been little improvement in sun protection provision in the workplace, with around one in two workers who spend time outside missing out on sun protection. 

In response, Cancer Council and the Australasian College of Dermatology joined forces during National Skin Cancer Action Week (14 – 21 November) to remind Australians that when it comes to damage from UV radiation, ‘it all adds up’ – whether by accident or attempts to tan, increasing the risk of skin damage and skin cancer.

Cancer Council also called on employers to help protect their workers skin by having a sun protection policy in place, providing sun protective clothing and sunscreen, and providing shade where possible, particularly during the middle of the day.

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 

New guidelines

Clinical practice guidelines for PSA testing and management of test-detected prostate cancer received recommendation approval by the Chief Executive Officer of the National Health and Medical Research Council on 2 November 2015 and were released in January.


Guidelines in development



Clinical management guidelines for the prevention of cervical cancer

Public consultation (

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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