Leading Health Organisations Urge South Australians to Get Screened

Cancer Council SA, in conjunction with Country SA PHN and Adelaide PHN, is urging South Australians to make sure that they are up to date with their bowel, breast and cervical cancer screening tests.  

Australia is one of the world leaders in cancer screening, with our national cervix, bowel and breast cancer screening programs saving thousands of lives each year. 

However, concerning national figures show that cancer diagnoses fell by as much as 20 per cent during the COVID-19 Pandemic, suggesting fewer people were taking part in the national screening programs.  

Breast, bowel and cervical cancer screening has now resumed, following some disruptions due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

Cancer Council SA Chief Executive Lincoln Size said that he is concerned with the data and is worried that that South Australians are putting off their tests due to fears surrounding the Pandemic. 

“We understand that South Australians might be nervous about getting their screening tests done, particularly those that are done in a hospital or clinic, however putting the tests off are not an option.” 

“Our fear is that delaying cancer screening tests could impact early detection rates and ultimately, increase the cancer risk in South Australians,” he said. 

Screening is the best available early detection tool for bowel, breast and cervical cancer. Statistics show that 90 per cent of bowel cancers can be treated effectively if caught early and the mortality rate for breast cancers has decreased by up to 28 per cent due to screening. 

Country SA PHN, CEO Kim Hosking and Adelaide PHN CEO, Deb Lee agree that screening is a vital tool and join with Mr Size in promoting the screening message. 

“Across COVID-19, GPs have continued to provide frontline care for our community, and as restrictions ease and screening services resume, we encourage all South Australians to talk to their GP about cancer screening” said Ms Lee.

“Country SA PHN is urging all South Australians living in rural and remote communities to keep up their regular health checks including bowel, breast and cervical screening,” said Mr Hosking.

To further promote the screening message, Cancer Council SA, Country SA PHN and Adelaide PHN will run their “Get Screened and Get on With Living” campaign which airs on TV from 12 July.

The campaign, which was first launched in 2019, encourages South Australians to take part in their regular bowel, breast and cervical screening tests. 

Supported by a television and radio advert produced by James Rickard, the campaign centres on the peace of mind, joy and relief brought on by receiving the ‘all clear’ after screening for cancer. 

Unlike many campaigns which focus on the fear and negative feelings associated with putting off a screening test, this campaign focuses on celebrating life and is an invitation to all South Australians: get screened and get on with living, talk to you GP about cervix, breast and bowel screening.

To find out more about the campaign visit cancersa.org.au/get-screened-and-get-on-with-living

10 July 2020