26 September 2023

BreastScreen NSW breaks record for cancer tests

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The organizer that screens for breast cancers around New South Wales reported an all-time record-breaking number in May of this year when it had more women screened for breast cancer in the past 12 months than ever before.

The month saw more than 37,000 women have a free mammogram in May, an increase of nearly 15 per cent compared to the same time in 2019 and close to the 372,000 women who had breast screens between June 2022 and June 2023, the highest screening year in the history of the BreastScreen NSW program.

NSW’s Chief Cancer Officer and Chief Executive of the Cancer Institute NSW, Professor Tracey O’Brien, said it was incredible to see so many women take charge of their health.

“Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, with age and being female the biggest risk factors,” Professor O’Brien said.

“Nine out of 10 women diagnosed with breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease, which is why a mammogram every two years is the best way to detect breast cancer early and save lives,” she said.

“I’d like to acknowledge the thousands of women who have been motivated to screen, and the families, communities and organisations who have encouraged and supported them to prioritise their health.”

Professor O’Brien said peak numbers of Aboriginal and culturally linguistically diverse women were screened for breast cancer throughout May, which is a priority as screening rates across Australia’s breast, bowel and cervical screening programs are lower in these at-risk communities.

“Record numbers of mammogram bookings were also at an all-time high, with more than 42,000 eligible women making an appointment at one of the BreastScreen NSW’s more than 250 clinics and mobiles sites in May,” she said.

“We know that one third of cancers can be prevented and another third can be detected and treated early through regular screening. I urge all eligible women to keep the momentum going and take advantage of NSW’s life-saving breast cancer screening program.”

The Professor said BreastScreen NSW services were for women with no breast symptoms.

“Any woman who has noticed a change in their breasts, like a lump, should see their GP without delay,” she said.

“If you’re aged 50-74 and haven’t had a breast screen in two years, call 13 20 50 from anywhere in Australia or book online at www.breastcreen.nsw.gov.au.

“A mammogram takes 20 minutes and no doctor’s referral is needed. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Book in your appointment today,” Professor O’Brien said.

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