Did fewer people screen for cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic?


At the time of publication, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be an evolving situation, posing a threat to people’s health and wellbeing in Australia and globally. The data presented here cover the period from January to September 2020, capturing the first 9 months of the disease in Australia.

Data after this period will be captured in quarterly cancer screening data that are routinely published by the AIHW.

The national data included in this report, as well as state and territory monthly data, are shown in the associated data tables.

Timeliness and completeness of data

This report uses timely data to enable useful comparisons of trends in screening tests over the initial COVID-19 period in Australia – BreastScreen data from state and territory BreastScreen registers were supplied in November 2020, and National Cervical Screening Program and National Bowel Cancer Screening Program data were extracted from the National Cancer Screening Register in November 2020. When considering timely data, it is important to note that these are sourced from live databases, which are updated over time, with later data supply likely to have a greater level of completeness.

This means that the data in this report are considered preliminary, and should be not be directly compared with data used in other AIHW cancer screening reports, where data are sourced at a different time.