A guide to: Breast screening
Cancer screening saves lives
To book your free mammogram, contact your local BreastScreen provider on 13 20 50.
Breast screening saves lives. Screening is one of the most effective ways to detect early signs of breast cancer, meaning treatment outcomes are much better. Early detection is the best way to improve survival.
So it’s important for women aged 50-74 to put breast screening at the top of your to-do-list.
If you put off or missed a breast cancer screening during the pandemic, make sure you catch up. We understand you might be busy, but cancer screening could save your life.
If you’ve been sent an invitation, tick breast screening off your list.
We understand that you may have questions about cancer and COVID-19. For the latest information, visit our page on cancer and COVID-19. If you have any concerns, talk to your doctor or health care provider.
Why is breast screening important?
Breast cancer is the second largest cause of cancer death in Australian women after lung cancer. It is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australian women (apart from non-melanoma skin cancer1).
Early detection and appropriate treatment can significantly improve breast cancer survival.
Cancer Council Australia recommends that eligible women participate in the BreastScreen Australia program by having a free mammogram every two years, provided they are aware of the benefits and the risks.
Benefits and risks
Mammography is the recommended screening tool for the early detection of breast cancer. Each time you have a mammogram, your breasts are exposed to a very small amount of radiation. Mammography machines use the smallest amount of radiation possible while still getting a high quality image. The radiation from screening is about the same as 18 weeks of exposure to natural radiation in the environment.
If you want to know more about the potential benefits and risks of mammography, you may wish to talk to your doctor. For more information check our fact sheet on the early detection of breast cancer or call Cancer Council on 13 11 20.
Who is breast screening for?
BreastScreen Australia is the national breast screening program and actively invites women aged 50—74 to have a free two yearly mammogram. Women aged 40—49 and those aged over 74 are also eligible to receive a free mammogram but do not receive an invitation.
It is important to continue to attend screening when you are invited to do so.
How to participate
If you have received an invitation, now is the time to tick breast screening off your list and make an appointment. A mammogram every 2 years is the best way to detect breast cancer early and improve survival.
To make an appointment at one of more than 600 BreastScreen Australia clinics nationwide, phone 13 20 50 at a cost of a local phone call.
If you are feeling unwell or can no longer attend your appointment, make sure you reschedule.
Further information about BreastScreen Australia can be found in the BreastScreen and You brochure.
Download information about Breast Screening in Chinese | 中文
Download information about Breast Screening in Arabic | العربية
Download information about Breast Screening in Greek | Ελληνικά
Other useful websites
1) Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer according to general practice and hospitals data, however there is no reporting of cases to cancer registries.
Find out more information about the early detection of breast cancer