Cancer screening a priority for International Women’s Day

Ahead of International Women’s Day (March 8), Cancer Council Queensland is urging women to put their health and wellbeing first and get screened to save lives.

In Queensland, only 56 per cent of all eligible women aged 50-74 participate in recommended breast screening through BreastScreen Queensland – leaving around 44 per cent of women unscreened, hindering the chance of early detection[1].

Northern Queensland Primary Health Network recorded the highest screening participation rate at 62 per cent, while Brisbane North and Gold Coast have the lowest at 54 per cent**.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said International Women’s Day was an opportunity to take charge of your health and encourage other women to do the same.

“We’re encouraging women right across Queensland to start a conversation with the women in their life about the importance of breast screening,” Ms McMillan said.

“Participating in screening programs is vital to ensure that cancer is detected early, and you have the best chance of treating, and surviving a diagnosis.

“We need more eligible Queenslanders to make the effort to participate in recommended screening programs and encourage others to do the same – it could save your life.

“Queensland women aged 50-74 are eligible for a free mammogram every two years through BreastScreen Queensland. The program also accepts women in their 40s and 75 years and over.”

Ms McMillan urged women of all ages to also get to know the look and feel of their breasts, and visit their GP if they noticed any changes.

“Symptoms of breast cancer can include a lump or thickening of the breast, change in size or shape of the breast, changes to the nipple or the skin, such as dimpling, or unusual redness,” Ms McMillan said.

Around 3340 women in Queensland are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, and around 470 die from the disease.

To make an appointment with BreastScreen Queensland, visit

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via 13 11 20 or

**BreastScreen Australia participation rates by PHN for women aged 50-74:

  • Northern Queensland: 62% participation rate
  • Western Queensland: 58% participation rate
  • Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast: 57% participation rate
  • Darling Downs and West Moreton: 56% participation rate
  • Brisbane North: 54% participation rate
  • Brisbane South: 55% participation rate
  • Gold Coast: 54% participation rate
For more information or interviews, please contact:
Laura McKoy,
Media Manager,
Cancer Council Queensland
Phone: (07) 3634 5345
Mobile: 0409 001 171