Cancer is not one disease, but many. It’s the name given to more than 200 different conditions, each with its own name and treatment.
Information to help you understand more about cancer:
- What is cancer?: Explains how cancer starts and how cancer spreads.
- Types of cancer: Gateway to Cancer Council’s easy-to-read, evidence-based information resources.
- What does this word mean?: Our glossary explains common cancer terms in everyday language.
- How common is cancer?: Facts and figures about cancer in NSW.
- Find support: Information about Cancer Council’s support services, including our 13 11 20 telephone service, peer support and online community.
- Find cancer resources: Directory of Australian cancer resources.
- Visit a cancer information centre: Located within treatment centres across NSW.
- Watch cancer basics videos: Learn more about all aspects of cancer, from the science, to prevention, to diagnosis, to treatment, and more.
Cancer screening is testing for cancer or precancerous changes in people who don’t have symptoms. This can help find cancer early when there is a better chance of treatment and cure.
National screening programs are available in Australia for several cancers:
- breast cancer – Women aged 50–74 should have a mammogram every two years. Call BreastScreen NSW on 13 20 50 to book a free mammogram or visit breastscreen.nsw.gov.au
- bowel cancer – Bowel cancer testing kits, known as faecal occult blood tests or FOBTs, can find microscopic blood in a bowel motion that may indicate there is a problem. Many people aged 50 and older who hold a Medicare or Department of Veterans’ Affairs card are automatically sent a free FOBT kit as part of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program. For more information about the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, call 1800 118 868 or visit cancerscreening.gov.au.
- cervical cancer – The best way to detect precancerous changes and early cervical cancer is to have regular screening tests – a Pap test or the new HPV test, which will be available in 2017. From December 2017, women aged 25–74 will be tested for HPV every 5 years instead. Evidence has found that screening women for HPV is a more effective way of preventing cervical cancer. For more information call 13 15 56 or visit cancerscreening.gov.au.
There is no national screening program for the early detection of prostate cancer. Doctors have different opinions about whether all men without symptoms of prostate cancer should be tested. Finding prostate cancer early outlines these reasons.