Cancer screening information for health professionals
BreastScreen Tasmania to transition to encrypted messaging (HealthLink) in March 2021
From March 2021, screening and assessment results from BreastScreen Tasmania will transition to distribution via encrypted messaging (HealthLink) – increasing the efficiency and coordination of patient care. The new result letters will also note your patients’ reported symptoms.
The system improvements are a result of consultation with Tasmanian GPs.
BreastScreen Tasmania will contact clinicians over the coming weeks to confirm the date the change will come into effect.
Health professional's role in population-based screening
General Practitioners, Nurses, and Allied Health Professionals are key partners in Australia's population screening programs - BreastScreen Australia, National Cervical Screening Program, and National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.
Health professionals are well placed to speak with and inform Tasmanian women and men about cancer prevention, early detection and the importance of participating in Australia's organised screening programs. These programs are delivered in accordance with the Australian Population Based Screening Framework, that is based on the World Health Organization (WHO) principles of screening.
The success of population screening is dependent on high levels of participation. Health professionals are essential in encouraging participation in all screening programs.
Cervical screening in General Practice
Health professionals are key to women participating in cervical screening. Most women will see their general practitioner for their Cervical Screening Test (CST).
The Royal College of General Practitioners (RACGP) recommends that medical practices have practice based systems to effectively manage reminders to patients when they are due for screening or follow-up.
The National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR) will also send a reminder to women when they are due, recommending they see their General Practitioner or healthcare provider to have their CST.
The National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) has resources for women who have never screened or who have not screened regularly or recently.
Nurses in General Practice and Community Health
Practice nurses also play an important role in encouraging screening participation. Women who are under-screened, women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, older women, and those who have never had a CST, may appreciate the support of a practice nurse in their cervical screening decision making.
General Practitioners, Nurses and other healthcare providers can earn Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points for completing the cervical screening modules at NPS MedicineWise.
Cervical cancer screening guidelines
The cervical cancer screening guidelines are available from the Australian Government Department of Health.
Cervical screening histories
The National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR) is the national database for cervical screening records. The NCSR can provide healthcare providers with their patients' cervical screening records. The NCSR also provides the following services:
- reminding women to commence cervical screening when they turn 25 years and then when next due;
- holding a single, consistent, national cervical screening history for each participant;
- providing a participant’s cervical screening history to laboratories to inform screening recommendations; and
- providing a ‘safety net’ for participants who are at risk and have not attended further testing, by reminding them (and their healthcare providers) to have their follow-up tests.
The NCSR meets the strict data security and legal requirements applicable to the processing of, and access to health data. The NCSR is enabled by the National Cancer Screening Register Act 2016 and ensures the privacy of participants’ personal information.
You can also contact the NCSR on 1800 627 701.
Breast cancer training resource
The Tasmanian Breast Cancer Care Resource for Health Workers is a training document produced for health professionals working in rural Tasmania.
It has been developed through consultation with individuals, representatives and organisations that have an interest in improving the care of rural women who have or who have had breast cancer.
Publications and resources
Resources for healthcare professionals can be found below. See here for resources for participants.
A guide for health professionals that explains the current cervical screening and investigation management pathway.
|HPV Testing is Safe||A guide on HPV testing.|
|Online course - National Cervical Screening Program||A series of six training modules developed by the Commonwealth Department of Health in conjunction with the cervical screening program and NPS MedicineWise. The modules are intended to support and increase knowledge about the changes to cervical screening and how to manage screening test results in accordance with the new clinical guidelines.|
|To assist healthcare providers to engage under-screened and never-screened women in cervical screening, and to support them should they choose to participate.|
|A guide to taking a high-quality CST.|
A guide for Self-Collected Vaginal Sample for HPV Test.
|Cervical cancer information for health and consumers||Cancer Australia - Cervical cancer information for health professionals and consumers.|
|Cervical cancer information for health professionals and consumers||Commonwealth Department of Health - A range of cervical cancer information for consumers and health professionals.|
The pack includes:
Guidelines for preventive activities in general practice (Red Book)
Available on the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners website