Department of Health

Key messages

  • Screening programs are evaluated against the Population Based Screening Framework.
  • There is no national population screening program for prostate, skin or lung cancer.

In Australia, potential screening programs are assessed against the Australian Population Based Screening Framework to determine whether they are suitable to be a national screening program. Victoria, as a member of the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council, has endorsed the national framework.

Population Based Screening Framework

The framework includes criteria around the targeted health condition, the screening and assessment test, program design, treatment and ongoing management for individuals diagnosed, the need for a strong evidence base and the requirement that a screening program offers more benefit than harm to the target population.

In Australia, the following conditions are not part of a population screening program as they do not meet the framework criteria.

Prostate cancer

Early detection and management of prostate cancer is complex. Unlike cancers of the bowel, breast and cervix, there is insufficient evidence to support the benefits of population screening for prostate cancer.

For more information please see the Health Ministers’ Advisory Council position statement.

Skin cancer

The Screening Subcommittee of the Australian Population Health Development Principal Committee has endorsed Cancer Council Australia’s position statement on screening and early detection of skin cancer.

Cancer Council Australia and the Australian College of Dermatologists do not recommend mass or population screening for non-melanocytic and melanoma skin cancer.

For further information please see the Cancer Council Australia position statement.

Lung cancer

Australia does not have a population screening program for lung cancer for either the general population or high-risk groups. The need for and appropriateness of a lung cancer screening program will continue to be considered as evidence from international trials is assessed.

For further information about research and evidence for lung cancer screening, please visit the Commonwealth Department of Health screening website.

Reviewed 29 November 2023


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