The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has reported that more than 1.3 million women aged between 50 and 69 were screened through the BreastScreen Australia program in 2010 and 2011.
rates top 1.3m
The AIHW report, BreastScreen Australia Monitoring Report 2010–11, states that this represented 55 per cent of all women in this age group. However, screening rates remained lower among certain population categories.
Participation in breast screening was lower among women in very remote areas, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, and women who reported speaking a language other than English at home.
Spokesman for AIHW, Justin Harvey said the difference between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous women was greatest, with 36 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women having a screening mammogram in 2010–11, compared with 54 per cent of non-Indigenous women.
He said that among women screened for the first time in 2011, further investigation was required for 11 per cent, and of women attending subsequent screens, 4 per cent were recalled.
“Women are recalled for further investigation if any anomalies are found. This allows for early intervention if breast cancer is detected,” Mr Harvey said.
“A high proportion of breast cancers detected in 2011 were small - 50 per cent of those attending their first screen, and 63 per cent of those attending subsequent screens.”
He said small breast cancers (less than 15 millimetres in diameter) were associated with better treatment options and improved treatment outcomes and survival.
Breast cancer mortality dropped from 68 to 43 per 100,000 women between 1991 (when BreastScreen Australia began) and 2010. This has been largely attributed to the early detection of cancers through screening practices, such as BreastScreen Australia, along with advances in management and treatment.
The full report can be viewed at this PS News link.
Edition 385, 29 October 2013