Screening and primary care

Primary health care providers are important partners in the promotion and delivery of cancer screening programs.

Participation in cancer screening programs is a significant factor in reducing cancer-related illness and mortality. Research shows that a primary health care provider recommending or endorsing cancer screening programs increases participation in cervical, breast and bowel screening.1,2

Providers also play a key role in supporting people to seek and participate in cancer screening programs through provision of education and accessible resources.



Helpful resources

What is Cancer Screening?

Cancer screening involves simple tests that look for early signs of cancer, or the conditions that cause cancer. Screening tests can find cancer before you can see or feel any changes to your body. When you find cancer early, it is easier to treat successfully.

Bowel cancer screening 

Breast cancer screening

Cervical screening 

Cancer screening and primary care: a quality improvement toolkit

The cancer screening and primary care toolkit provides general practices with a clear and easy-to-follow roadmap for improving cancer screening rates. This toolkit will guide your practice through the steps required to:

  • establish accurate cancer screening participation rates
  • identify patients who are overdue for screening
  • establish an effective cancer screening reminder system
  • deliver patient-centred care to those at increased risk of non-participation in screening.


1. Emery JD, Shaw K, Williams B, et al. The role of primary care in early detection and follow-up of cancer. Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 2014;11(1):38-48. doi:10.1038/nrclinonc.2013.212 

2. Cancer Institute NSW. NSW Primary Care Strategy for the bowel, breast and cervical screening programs. NSW:Cancer Institute NSW, 2016. Available at: