The Andrews Labor Government is backing a major push to boost breast cancer screening rates and calling on Victorian women to check their screening is up to date.
Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos today released the latest BreastScreen Victoria participation rates for women aged 50-74 and called on the 46 per cent of them not participating in regular screening to put their health first.
The data suggests more than 1,500 Victorians could have breast cancer but don’t know it because they are not participating in regular screening.
The highest participation rates are in the Mornington, Nepean, Niddrie, St Albans and Warrandyte electorates. Areas needing more work to raise awareness and lift participation rates are Benambra, Footscray, Cranbourne, Williamstown and Broadmeadows.
Finding breast cancer early, before any symptoms are noticed, gives women the best chance of survival. Thanks to earlier detection and better treatments, more Victorian women are surviving breast cancer, with the five-year survival rate now at 91 per cent compared to 73 per cent in 1986.
But we need to do more to save more lives. Breast cancer is the second most common new cancer in Victoria. In 2017, 4,524 Victorian women were diagnosed with breast cancer and 779 died from the disease.
That’s why the Victorian Cancer Plan 2016-20 sets an ambitious target of saving 10,000 lives from cancer in the next 10 years.
In September the Labor Government announced $1.8 million to roll out cutting-edge 3D breast screening technology in assessment services across the state, speeding up lifesaving diagnosis and reducing invasive procedures.
A record 267,589 women were screened for breast cancer by BreastScreen Victoria last financial year, the highest number ever.
Victorian women aged between 50 and 74 are encouraged to have a free, two-yearly breast screen with BreastScreen Victoria by calling 13 20 50 or booking online. For more information, visit breastcreen.org.au.
As noted by Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos
“When it comes to breast cancer, we know early diagnosis is the key to survival.”
“I’m calling on Victorian women to prioritise their own health and, if you’re over 50, to get a breast screen every two years – its free, takes just 10 minutes, and may save your life or the life of someone you love.”