Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2021. Cancer screening programs: quarterly data. Cat. no. CAN 114. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 20 October 2021, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/cancer-screening/national-cancer-screening-programs-participation
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2021). Cancer screening programs: quarterly data. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/cancer-screening/national-cancer-screening-programs-participation
Cancer screening programs: quarterly data. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 01 October 2021, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/cancer-screening/national-cancer-screening-programs-participation
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Cancer screening programs: quarterly data [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2021 [cited 2021 Oct. 20]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/cancer-screening/national-cancer-screening-programs-participation
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2021, Cancer screening programs: quarterly data, viewed 20 October 2021, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/cancer-screening/national-cancer-screening-programs-participation
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This report presents the latest available activity and participation data for the 3 cancer screening programs:
Cancer is one of the leading causes of illness and death in Australia. Some cancers can be detected through screening, which allows for early detection, intervention and treatment.
Australia has 3 national cancer screening programs:
These programs offer a screening test to people in defined target groups to test for signs of cancer or pre-cancerous conditions.
Two key measures of the use of cancer screening programs in this report are activity and participation.
Activity data are counts of events, such as the number of screening tests conducted.
Activity data show the volume of work undertaken by the cancer screening programs.
Activity data can be made available quickly, which means recent trends can be identified. Knowing how many tests are conducted helps services and policy makers understand demand and plan for the future.
Activity data count events rather than people. A person may be counted more than once if they complete more than one screening test during the time period.
Participation is the proportion of eligible or invited people who completed a screening test.
Participation data help us to know the extent to which target groups are being reached, and can inform strategies to improve screening rates among these groups of people.
Participation is usually measured over a longer period of time than activity data (2 years or 5 years, in line with the recommended screening interval for each program), so the results take more time to become available.
Each person is counted only once for each program.
High rates of participation produce the greatest population benefits in terms of reducing illness and death from these cancers (see the AIHW report Analysis of cancer outcomes and screening behaviour for national cancer screening programs in Australia).
Bowel cancer screening (NBCSP):
Cervical screening (NCSP):
Note that activity data are counts of events rather than people.
Activity data for BreastScreen Australia are not presented as data are not available.
For information about the impact of COVID-19 on Australia’s cancer screening programs in 2020, see the AIHW report Cancer screening and COVID-19 in Australia.
This report includes the latest available activity and participation data for the 3 cancer screening programs, as outlined below. Data in this report will be updated quarterly.
cervical cancer screening participation data for 2018–2019 were last updated in December 2020.
Data in this report are sourced from live databases, which are updated over time, with later data supply likely to have a greater level of completeness. Data in this report may differ from other AIHW cancer screening reports, which are sourced at a different time.
Activity data for cervical and bowel cancer screening are updated each quarter.
Preliminary participation data for cervical, breast and bowel cancer screening are published ahead of the respective AIHW annual monitoring report for each program to give key stakeholders and policy-makers early access to these important data. As more recent data are used to update participation when the respective AIHW annual monitoring reports are released, preliminary participation data are subject to change.
In this report, screening activity data are presented by month and quarter. Each quarter covers 3 months of the year and is identified with reference to the last month in the quarter (for example, the March quarter comprises January, February, and March).
Participation by geography is also presented. Exploring the results across different geographical areas can help to identify where resources are needed to improve equity, accessibility and participation in cancer screening programs.
Participation is one of many indicators used to evaluate the performance of Australia’s national cancer screening programs against their aims.
The full set of performance indicators are reported in each program’s annual monitoring reports, available from the AIHW’s cancer screening reports page.
The activity data presented in this report complement performance indicator reporting.
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