Two radiographers with a breast screen machine.

Radiographers Gillian McDowell and Louise Dawson encourage women to book a breast screen every two years.

More than 45 per cent of women overdue for breast screening

Oct 04, 2023

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, women aged 50-74 from the North Coast of NSW are urged to book in a free mammogram, with 45.5 per cent of women in the region overdue for their two-yearly breast cancer screening.

Emma Cronin, Acting Director of BreastScreen NSW, North Coast, said with 531 local women expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, now is the time to book a free, life-saving breast screen.

“For women aged 50-74, a breast screen every two years is still the best way to detect breast cancer early – before it can be seen or felt,” Emma said.

“If you’re 50-74, prioritise breast screening. It only takes 20 minutes, and no doctor’s referral is needed.”

Launched last month, a new BreastScreen NSW campaign, “Breast Cancer Doesn’t Wait”, encourages women to put themselves first. It was developed after research found many women were not having regular breast screens because they were too busy.

Professor Tracey O’Brien, NSW Chief Cancer Officer and CEO of the Cancer Institute NSW said a woman’s five-year breast cancer survival rate is 98 per cent if detected in its earliest stages. This drops to 43.9 per cent if detected later, when it has spread to other organs.

“Breast cancer is expected to take the lives of nearly 1,000 women in NSW this year, and we need to do everything we can to support women and encourage them to book a life-saving breast screen,” Professor O’Brien said.

“Early detection not only significantly increases a person’s chance of survival, it can also greatly reduce the need for invasive treatment like a mastectomy.

“As a working mum and professional, I know how hard it can be to block out time for yourself. Unfortunately, breast cancer doesn’t wait, so I encourage all eligible women to stop and put themselves first – for themselves and their family.”

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, with one in seven women set to be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Age and being female are the biggest risk factors – not family history.

BreastScreen NSW services are recommended for women aged 50–74 years with no breast symptoms.

The service is available for women from 40 years. Any woman who has noticed a change in their breasts, like a lump, should see their doctor without delay.

For more information and to make an appointment at a local BreastScreen NSW clinic or mobile van, call 13 20 50 from anywhere in Australia or book online at  

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