Cancer screening - breast screening saves lives

Over 40% of GPs questioned by Central and Eastern Sydney PHN about Breastscreen NSW services reported that they were unaware that mammograms carried out at Breastscreen facilities were systematically checked by 2 radiologists for quality control purposes. 

Read more about the benefits of cancer screening and the Breastscreen NSW service here:

Over 40% of GPs questioned by Central and Eastern Sydney PHN about Breastscreen NSW services reported that they were unaware that mammograms carried out at Breastscreen facilities were systematically checked by 2 radiologists for quality control purposes. 

The GP responses support anecdotal reports suggesting that some practice staff may not be aware that Breastscreen NSW is a free governmental service with strict quality control systems and processes in place. Some women living in the CESPHN region have reported not being offered Breastscreen NSW as a provider option by their GP, yet they would have preferred a free service.


Bowel, Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Programs

Bowel, Breast and cervical cancer are responsible for significant morbidity and mortality in Australia. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in Australia and bowel cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosis in both men and women nationally and 2nd leading cause of cancer death (Cancer Australia).

There are national population-based screening programs for these three cancers in Australia. Population-based cancer screening is the ‘use of simple tests across a healthy population in order to identify individuals who have disease, but do not yet have symptoms’ (WHO 2015). Screening programs such as those that exist in Australia for bowel, breast and cervical cancer can prevent cancer (by detecting pre-cancerous lesions and identifying the need to remove them) and detect cancer at an early stage when treatment is more likely to be effective.


Cancer screening saves lives

The evidence is clear that cancer screening saves lives. Recent data published illustrates that:

  • People that participated in bowel cancer screening had a lower risk of dying from bowel cancer and were more likely to be diagnosed with early stage bowel cancer (AIHW 2018).
  • Risk of death was 42% lower for women diagnosed with breast cancer through BreastScreen Australia than those who had never screened (AIHW 2018).
  • Women in NSW who participated in regular or even irregular cervical screening had a significant decreased risk of developing cervical cancer (Yang et al 2008).

As health professionals we can play instrumental roles in increasing cancer screening participation rates and reducing the risk of people dying from cancer.

Read more about how the Breastscreen service functions and how local providers can work together to improve health outcomes for our populations:

https://www.breastscreen.nsw.gov.au/information-for-health-professionals/your-role-in-breast-screening

https://www.breastscreen.nsw.gov.au/information-for-health-professionals


Other information:

  • If your patient speaks a language other than English Breastscreen will organise interpreters and have several sites where there are bilingual workers on specific days. Group bookings can also be made. Please contact Breastscreen for arrangements (Tel: 132050).


If you require any specific information relating to cancer screening programs please do not hesitate to contact Alison Jones, Cancer Prevention Program Officer: a.jones@cesphn.com.au

 

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