Breast cancer screening participation

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

Participation in BreastScreen Australia refers to the proportion of women aged 50–74 who are screened in a 2-year period.  Participation in BreastScreen Australia is measured over 2 calendar years to align with the recommended screening interval.

Women’s participation in BreastScreen Australia

In 2019–2020:

  • almost 1.8 million women aged 50–74 participated in BreastScreen Australia.
  • the participation rate was 50% of women aged 50–74.

Participation by age

Women aged 65–69 had the highest participation rate (54%) in 2019–2020.

Participation by state/territory

In 2019–2020:

  • the participation rate among women aged 50–74 was highest in the Australian Capital Territory (58%)
  • after adjusting for difference in population age structure across the states and territories, the Australian Capital Territory participation rate was 16% higher than the national participation rate (57% and 49%, respectively).

Trends in participation

The number of women aged 50–74 who participated in BreastScreen Australia rose from 1.7 million in 2014–2015 to almost 1.9 million in 2018–2019. This rise in numbers of participating women was expected and is explained by the full implementation of the changes in the target age group from 50–69 to 50–74 that occurred in 2017. In 2019–2020 this fell slightly to almost 1.8 million, which is likely due to restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The national age-standardised participation rate among women aged 50–74 remained around 54–55% between 2017–2018 and 2018–2019 (54% age-standardised rate in 2018–2019) but fell to 49% in 2019–2020—a 9% fall in the participation rate compared with 2018–2019.
 

This data visualisation shows participation data for BreastScreen Australia from 2014–2015 to 2019–2020. 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.

Geographical variation in breast cancer screening participation

Participation rates in this section are based on the usual residence of the program participants.

Participation by Primary Health Network

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

In 2019–2020:

  • Northern Queensland had the highest participation rate among PHN areas (60%)
  • Northern Territory had the lowest participation rate (36%).
     

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.

Participation by Statistical Area Level 3

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

In 2019–2020:

  • Charters-Towers-Ayr-Ingram (Queensland) had the highest participation rate among SA3s (67%)
  • Katherine (Northern Territory) had the lowest participation rate (20%).
     

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.