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Breast Screening

Breast Screening

One in eight women in NSW will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, and nine in ten women in NSW with breast cancer do not have a family history.

Breast cancer screening participation rates among women aged 50-69 years (53.5%) in Sydney North Health Network area are higher than the NSW rate (53%).

Screen-detected breast cancer is less likely to cause death than breast cancers diagnosed in women who have never been screened. Breast cancer is the second largest cause of cancer death in Australian women after lung cancer. It is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australian women (apart from non-melanoma skin cancer).

In Australia, population-based national breast cancer screening is available through BreastScreen Australia, which targets women aged 50–74 for two-yearly free screening mammograms (women aged 40–49 and 75 years and over are also eligible).

BreastScreen NSW provides free screening mammograms for women between the ages of 50 and 74 in New South Wales.

BreastScreen NSW has begun a phased introduction of electronic delivery of BreastScreen results to GP practice management software using secure messaging. BreastScreen NSW hopes that in future the vast majority of results, except for patients who have undergone a biopsy or who require surgical management, will be delivered directly into the GP’s PMS if the woman has provided her GP’s details. They will continue to be sent by post to the woman within two weeks of the mammogram, and for those whose have had a biopsy will be sent by fax or post to the GP.

The service is only available for users of MedicalDirector and Best Practice at present, with either the Medical-Objects or HealthLink secure messaging service. GPs using other PMS’s are still receiving the results by fax or post. BreastScreen NSW says recalls and reminders will still have to be manually set in the PMS after clinical review of the result letter. Practices can opt-out of the new system and they will continue to receive all BreastScreen NSW results via post/fax.

The use of BreastScreen by Aboriginal women and those from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds is increasing across NSW, though remains lower than the state average, often resulting in later diagnosis and poorer outcomes.

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