BreastScreen Australia

What is BreastScreen Australia?

BreastScreen Australia aims to reduce illness and death from breast cancer using screening mammography for early detection of unsuspected breast cancer in women.

Early detection provides an opportunity for early treatment, which can reduce illness and death.

Australian women aged 40 and over are eligible for free mammograms with BreastScreen Australia every 2 years, with women aged 50–74 actively targeted to participate in the program.

This program began in 1991. From 1 July 2013, women aged 70–74 were added to the target group, along with women aged 50–69. This change was phased in over several years, and fully implemented by 2016–17.

For the latest monitoring report for BreastScreen Australia that includes BreastScreen data, see the AIHW report BreastScreen Australia monitoring report 2020.

BreastScreen Australia participation data

For BreastScreen Australia, participation refers to the proportion of women aged 50–74 who are screened in a 2-year period.

Participation data help us to know the extent to which target groups are being reached.

Participation in BreastScreen Australia is measured over 2 calendar years to align with the 2-year recommended screening interval.

Explore the latest data in the visualisations below.

How many women participated in BreastScreen Australia?

In 2018–2019:

  • almost 1.9 million women aged 50–74 participated in BreastScreen Australia
  • this was a participation rate of 55%.

Does participation vary by age and state/territory?

In 2018–2019:

  • participation among women aged 50–74 was highest in Tasmania (60%, age-standardised rate)
  • women aged 65–69 had the highest participation rate in all states and territories.

Has participation changed over time?

The number of women aged 50–74 who participated in BreastScreen Australia increased in recent years, from 1.7 million in 2014–2015 to almost 1.9 million in 2018–2019.

The national participation rate remained around 54–55% between 2014–2015 and 2018–2019.
 

This data visualisation shows participation data for BreastScreen Australia from 2014–2015 to 2018–2019. The bar graph shows participation by age group and can be filtered by state/territory and year. The line graph on the second tab shows trend data by type of measure (number of participants, eligible population and participation rate), state/territory, and age group. A third tab shows the participation data in a table form and can be filtered by measure, state/territory and age group.

How does participation vary by Primary Health Network?

Primary Health Network (PHN) areas are 31 areas covering Australia, as defined by the Department of Health.

In 2018–2019:

  • Murrumbidgee had the highest participation rate among PHN areas (61%)
  • Northern Territory had the lowest participation rate (38%).
     

This data visualisation shows participation data for BreastScreen Australia, by Primary Health Network. The map can be filtered by state/territory and year and uses shaded areas of colour to show participation rates. The bar graph on the second tab can be filtered by age group and year and shows the participation rate of each Primary Health Network for the selected period. A third tab shows the participation data by Primary Health Network in a table form and can be filtered by measure (number of participants, eligible population and participation rate), state/territory and age group.

How does participation vary by SA3?

Statistical Areas Level 3 (SA3) consists of 333 geographical areas covering Australia, defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

In 2018–2019:

  • Tamworth – Gunnedah had the highest participation rate among SA3s (68%)
  • Daly – Tiwi – West Arnhem had the lowest participation rate (29%).
     

This data visualisation shows participation data for BreastScreen Australia, by Statistical Area Level 3. The map can be filtered by state/territory and year and uses shaded areas of colour to show participation rates. The bar graph on the second tab can be filtered by state/territory, age group and year, and shows the participation rate of each Statistical Area Level 3 for the selected period. A third tab shows the participation data by Statistical Area Level 3 in a table form and can be filtered by measure (number of participants, eligible population and participation rate), state/territory and year.