WOMENS HEALTH

Breast Screening

You can have breast cancer for years before you or your doctor notice that something is wrong - by which time it could be well-developed. A breast screen (or mammogram) can find cancer early, when it's small and easier to treat. A breast screen won't stop you from getting breast cancer, but it can give you a better chance of successful treatment.

Who should attend breast cancer screening?

Women aged 50 and older are encouraged to have a mammogram every two years to screen for breast cancer. If you want to stop screening mammograms after the age of 70, discuss it with your doctor.

Why is breast cancer screening important?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, with one out of every 11 women in NSW affected at some stage in their life. The biggest risk factors for breast cancer are being a woman, and being over 50.

Where can I have a mammogram?

The screening program for breast cancer in NSW is run by BreastScreen NSW, part of BreastScreen Australia. It's jointly funded by the commonwealth and NSW governments.

BreastScreen NSW promotes free two-yearly breast screening to women aged from 50 to 69, the group that benefits most from screening. Women from 40 to 49, and women 70 and over can also have a free breast screen if they want it. It's not available to women under 40, the group with the lowest risk.

BreastScreen NSW runs screening and assessment services at more than 190 fixed and mobile locations. To make an appointment at your nearest BreastScreen NSW centre, phone 13 20 50.

What happens when you attend breast screening?

Screening involves taking an x-ray (mammogram) of each breast. Some women find it uncomfortable because the screening machine presses on the breasts, but it only takes a few seconds.

All mammograms are examined by two specially trained doctors. If a mammogram shows something suspicious, BreastScreen NSW makes sure you have follow-up tests and care.