Notes on the data: Screening programs - Breast screening
Breast screening participation, females aged 50 to 69 years, 2015 and 2016 (NSW, & SA), 2016 and 2017 (Vic)
Policy context: The data presented here are for women screened for breast cancer as a result of screening programs .
Breast cancer is a major health issue for Australian women. Currently, few scientifically proven strategies are available for preventing the development of breast cancer. However, research has shown that screening mammography is currently the most effective tool for the early detection of breast cancer in asymptomatic women in the target age group of women aged 50 to 69 years; and, that having a screening mammogram every two years, reduces the chance of dying from breast cancer by up to 40%. Participation in breast screening in South Australia is associated with a reduction in breast cancer mortality of between 30% and 41% .
BreastScreen Australia is the national breast cancer screening program with services provided by state-based organisations - in this case by BreastScreen New South Wales, BreastScreen Victoria, BreastScreen Queensland, BreastScreen Western Australia and BreastScreen ACT. The program provides screening and assessment services on a state-wide basis at no cost to eligible women, using fixed and mobile clinics. The target age group is asymptomatic women aged 50 to 69 years; asymptomatic women aged 40 to 49 and 75 years and older are also able to attend . Women who are eligible because of a strong family history of breast cancer are invited annually.
Screening mammograms are different from diagnostic mammograms, which are not provided by BreastScreen Australia. Diagnostic mammograms are for women who have breast symptoms and include views that target the symptomatic area. Screening mammograms are not suitable for women with breast symptoms.
- The data do not include women who undergo private screening; the impact of such services is estimated to be quite small – see: Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA). BreastScreen Australia evaluation: Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Mammography Analysis Project. (Screening monograph no. 11/2009.) Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia; 2009.
- Roder D, Houssami N, Farshid G, Gill G, Luke C, Downey P, Beckmann K, Iosifidis P, Grieve L, Williamson L. Population screening and intensity of screening are associated with reduced breast cancer mortality: evidence of efficacy of mammography screening in Australia. Breast Cancer Res Tr. 2008;108(3):409-16.
- Australian Government Department of Health. BreastScreen Australia program: About the program [Internet]. [cited 2014 May 22, updated 2016 Mar 15]. Available from: http: http://www.cancerscreening.gov.au/internet/screening/publishing.nsf/Content/about-the-program
Notes: The participation rate for the 24 month period to the end of each calendar year is based on the actual number of women screened as a percentage of the average of the ABS Estimated Resident Population (ERP) for the two corresponding calendar years. If a woman has attended more than once in the 24 months, she is counted once only, and the age is taken from the first visit.
The data do not include women who undergo private screening; the impact of such services is estimated to be quite small – see: Department of Health and Ageing (2009) BreastScreen Australia evaluation: Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Mammography Analysis Project. Screening monograph no. 11/2009. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.
Data not yet available for Victoria. Data are not available for Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory or the Australian Capital Territiry. Archived data from 2010 and 2011 are available for Queensland and Western Australia, and from 2007 and 2008 for the Austrlian Capital Territory at http://phidu.torrens.edu.au/social-health-atlases/data-archive(May and June 2015 release).
As these data were collected from each State and Territory health agency, they may exclude people who live in one State/Territory and used a service in another. The main occurrences are for people living near State/Territory borders such as in Albury (NSW) and Wodonga (Vic), Tweed (NSW) and Gold Coast (Qld) and from the APY Lands (SA) using services in Alice Springs (NT).
Geography: Data available by Population Health Area, Local Government Area, Primary Health Network, quintile of socioeconomic disadvantage of area and Remoteness Areas
Numerator: Number of individual women aged 50 to 69 years screened over a 24 month period ending 31 December 2016 (NSW, & SA), ending 31 December 2017 (Vic)
Denominator: Females aged 50 to 69 years (Estimated Resident Population (ABS): average of 30 June 2015 and 30 June 2016 (NSW, & SA); average of 30 June 2016 and 30 June 2017 (Vic)
Detail of analysis: Per cent
Source: Compiled by PHIDU based on data from:
- BreastScreen NSW, and BreastScreen SA - 2015 and 2016; BreastScreen Victoria - 2016 and 2017 and
- ABS Estimated Resident Population, average of 30 June 2015 and 30 June 2016 (NSW, & SA), average of 30 June 2016 and 30 June 2017 (Vic).