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This page presents an update of participation data for Australia’s national breast cancer screening program, BreastScreen Australia, for 2011 and 2012. These data have been released ahead of the annual BreastScreen Australia monitoring report 2011–2012 to provide early access to these data.

Participation in this program during 2011 and 2012 was similar to previous years overall and by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status.

Note that rates for 2011 Remoteness Areas and socioeconomic quintiles are calculated using ERPs based on the 2011 Census of Population and Housing and should not be compared with rates calculated using ERPs based on previous Censuses. This means that participation by remoteness area or socioeconomic status for 2011–2012 should not be compared with previous data.

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow and multiply out of control. Breast cancer originates in the small lobes of the breast that produce milk or more commonly the ducts that carry milk from the lobules to the nipple. Breast cancer can be confined to the lobes or ducts, in which case it is called lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) or ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), or it can have spread to the surrounding tissue, in which case it is called invasive breast cancer.

Excluding non-melanoma skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting Australian women, with more than 14,800 new cases diagnosed in 2010 and just over 2,900 deaths in 2011. Although much research has been conducted into all aspects of this disease, the cause of breast cancer is not clear and there is no way of preventing the disease.  

About BreastScreen Australia

BreastScreen Australia aims to reduce illness and death resulting from breast cancer by screening to detect cases of unsuspected breast cancer in women, enabling intervention at an early stage. Finding breast cancer early often means that the cancer is small, which is associated with increased treatment options and improved survival.

During 2011 and 2012, BreastScreen Australia actively targeted women aged 50–69 for free screening mammograms every two years. Although the target group was women aged 50–69, all women aged 40 years and over were eligible to receive free screening mammograms through BreastScreen Australia.

Note that, while the majority of screening mammography performed in Australia is through BreastScreen Australia, a relatively small amount of screening mammography occurs through services other than BreastScreen Australia. The data presented here are only for women screened through BreastScreen Australia.

For more information on BreastScreen Australia, and for the latest breast cancer screening data, see the latest Breast cancer screening in Australia report.

Participation in BreastScreen Australia

More than half (54.6%) of targeted women in Australia had a screening mammogram through BreastScreen Australia in 2011 or 2012. Participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women was lower at 37.7%.

Analysis of participation rates by remoteness shows that participation was highest in Outer regional areas at 59.1%, and that BreastScreen Australia also reaches 46.0% of women in Very remote areas.

Participation was similar for women living in areas of varying socioeconomic status, with participation ranging from 52.8% to 55.8%.

These participation rates are similar to previous years.

Participation rates for BreastScreen Australia
by remoteness area, women aged 50–69, 2011 and 2012

Vertical bar chart showing participation rate (per cent) (0 to 100) on the y axis; remoteness area (major cities, inner regional, outer regional, remote, very remote) on the x axis.

Participation rates for BreastScreen Australia
by socioeconomic status, women aged 50–69, 2011 and 2012

Vertical bar chart showing participation rate (per cent) (0 to 100) on the y axis; socioeconomic status (lowest 1 to highest 5) on the x axis.  

Data

Please contact the Cancer screening team if you require this data in alternative formats.

Further information

Email .

For more information on BreastScreen Australia please visit www.cancerscreening.gov.au.