Cancer Council has welcomed the LNP’s election pledge to roll out pre-booked breast screening statewide, with Queensland women now also able to schedule their appointments online.
The Australian-first initiative was announced by Health Minister and Member for Southern Downs Lawrence Springborg today, following a trial that saw a threefold increase in the number of women accessing the BreastScreen Queensland service for the first time.
The trial of pre-booked breast screening was undertaken last year, with letters sent specifying a pre-booked appointment time at a Queensland mobile van or BreastScreen Service Centre, using the latest digital mammography technology.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said the new commitments could save the lives of Queensland women.
“Our research shows women screened by BreastScreen Queensland have better cancer survival prospects than those not screened,” Ms Clift said.
“Detecting breast cancer early is crucial for survival and improving quality of life – any initiative that aims to increase uptake of screening is imperative for our State.
“Currently, only about 57 per cent of eligible Queensland women get free mammograms every two years through BreastScreen Queensland.
“While some women are screened privately, there is concern that many others may be missing out or failing to follow up on reminder notices.
“Knowing that an appointment has already been made and set aside will make it much easier for many women to participate in recommended breast screening.
“Allowing women to make their screening bookings online will also improve uptake rates – it’s easy, convenient and can be synced straight to their schedule.”
Cancer Council Queensland recommends women aged 50-74 have a mammogram every two years through BreastScreen Queensland.
“Queensland women should be breast aware and familiarise themselves with the normal look and feel of their breasts,” Ms Clift said.
“All women should also see a doctor immediately if they notice any unusual breast changes.”
Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Queensland women – around 2900 new cases are diagnosed each year, and about 500 women die from the disease.
Since BreastScreen Australia began in 1991, mortality has decreased from 68 deaths per 100,000 women to 44 deaths per 100,000 women in 2011.
More information about Cancer Council Queensland via Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20 or on our website.
For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media and Spokesperson, Cancer Council Queensland
Ph: (07) 3634 5372 or 0409 001 171