Cancer Council Australia

Annual Review 2015-2016

Clinical guidelines

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Clinical practice guidelines

Cancer Council Australia produces concise, high quality clinical practice guidelines for health professionals on the prevention, diagnosis and management of cancers.

Our Clinical Guidelines Network engages teams of multidisciplinary experts and consults with all relevant professional bodies and societies to develop guidelines that are informed by the best available evidence.

All guidelines are developed, disseminated and kept up-to-date via our innovative web-based wiki platform at

First guidelines for PSA testing

Australia’s first evidence-based recommendations for using the prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test to assess prostate cancer risk were published in January 2016.

The recommendations were developed through a partnership between the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) and Cancer Council Australia. They were approved by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in November 2015, and the final guidelines were published on our wiki on 20 January 2016.

The guidelines are aimed at minimising the harms and maximising the benefits for individual men choosing to take a PSA test, which is not recommended for population screening because of its inaccuracy.

The guidelines provide evidence-based recommendations to health professionals involved in localised prostate cancer risk assessment, treatment and care. The recommendations also cover matters such as retesting, active surveillance, watchful waiting and biopsy.

The recommendations were developed following a systematic review of the evidence by our Clinical Guidelines Network and consensus on its interpretation by an expert group of epidemiologists, urologists, GPs, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, allied health professionals and consumers.

The guidelines have been formally endorsed by the Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand, the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia, the Faculty of Radiation Oncology (the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists), Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. The endorsement of medical colleges will help to disseminate the guidelines and help gain consistency in how the PSA blood test is used to assess Australian men’s risk of prostate cancer.

Application of the guidelines will reduce the level of over-treatment and guide improved management of men with early-stage prostate cancer.

We are working with PCFA to produce a decision aid to help GPs in discussions with their patients about whether the PSA test may be beneficial to them.

Guidelines to support prevention of cervical cancer

The Clinical Guidelines Network was commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Health to develop evidence-based clinical management guidelines to support the implementation of the renewed National Cervical Screening Program from early 2017.

An expert Clinical Management Guidelines Working Party was convened in August 2015, chaired by Professor Ian Hammond. Systematic literature reviews and modelled evaluations to inform the guidelines were completed by Professor Karen Canfell and her Cancer Screening Group at Cancer Council NSW.

The guidelines, National Cervical Screening Program: Guidelines for the Management of Screen Detected Abnormalities, Screening in Specific Populations and Investigation of Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding, describe best practice in the clinical management of women with positive HPV test results and abnormalities detected on subsequent liquid based cytology. For the first time, guidance for health professionals regarding the management of symptomatic women also was included.

The guidelines were developed in consultation with relevant professional bodies and a wide range of clinicians and consumers. They were released for public consultation from 15 February to 15 March 2016, and all feedback was collated and considered by the working party.

The final guidelines are expected to be published in early 2017 at

Guidelines in development

In 2015-16 our Clinical Guidelines Network progressed development of new guidelines, and revision of previously published guidelines, for several cancers.

We continued work on the development of guidelines for the prevention and diagnosis of lung cancer. Systematic reviews for the screening questions were completed in 2016 and prepared for public consultation launch at the Australian Lung Cancer Conference 2016. Systematic reviews for prevention, diagnosis, staging, prognosis and follow-up are underway.

The Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Lung Cancer have been updated with new literature.

Cancer Council and Melanoma Institute Australia continued revision of the 2008 guidelines for the diagnosis and management of melanoma with financial support from Skin Cancer College Australasia. The first set of four clinical questions have been finalised and content has been through a rigorous review and public consultation process. These four questions will be publicly available shortly. Systematic evidence reviews to update the guidelines are in progress. The melanoma guidelines revision project covers 23 clinical questions and is anticipated to be completed in 2018. The revised guidelines will be published on our wiki platform to enable regular review and updating.

Systematic reviews are underway to inform revision of the 2005 clinical practice guidelines for the Prevention, Early Detection and Management of Colorectal Cancer. This revision was commissioned and funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.

Work continues on the development of clinical practice guidelines for the Management of Adult Onset Sarcoma, with additional questions relevant to the adolescent and young population identified in 2015-16 and systematic reviews in progress.

This page was last updated on: Friday, October 21, 2016