Free screening and follow up services to women from the age of 40 years living in the ACT.
Breast screening is done through the use of digital mammography (low-dose breast x-rays).
An assessment clinic where women who have an abnormality detected on their screening mammogram can come for further investigations.
Who can use this service?
- Women under 40 years: women under 40 years are not eligible for routine screening through BreastScreen ACT. Currently, there is little evidence of the benefits of population based screening for women of this age group. The tissue of young women's breasts tends to be more dense than that of older women due to the influence of hormones. On a screening mammogram, dense breast tissue shows up as a white area. Breast cancers also usually appear white and are therefore more difficult to find on young women's screening mammograms.
Younger women who notice any unusual breast lumps, pain or nipple discharge should see their GP immediately. Those who are concerned about their individual risk of developing breast cancer should also seek advice from their GP.
- Women aged between 40-49 years: current evidence indicates that the benefits of population breast cancer screening for women aged 40-49 years are not strong enough to encourage all women in this age group to have regular breast cancer screening. Women in this age group are eligible to have a screening mammogram with BreastScreen, but the Program only sends routine reminder letters to women in the target age group of 50-74 years.
Women who notice any unusual breast lumps, pain or nipple discharge should see their doctor immediately. Those who are concerned about their individual risk of developing breast cancer should also seek advice from their doctor.
- Women aged between 50-74 years: screening mammography is recommended for women aged 50-74 years. Women aged 50-74 years are actively encouraged to attend every two years for a screening mammogram as screening has been shown to be of significant benefit in terms of reducing deaths from breast cancer in this group. As part of their service, BreastScreen ACT sends reminder letters to women in this age group when their mammogram is due. Women are asked to contact the Program if they change address or do not, for some reason, receive their reminder letter when it is due.
- Women 75 years and older: women 75 years and older are eligible for free screening but are not sent reminder letters by the Program. BreastScreen recommends that women in this age group who wish to continue screening with the Program are welcome to ring for an appointment when their next mammogram is due.
Women who have noticed a change in their breast: screening mammography is not appropriate for women who have noticed a change in their breast. Women who have a breast symptom are best managed through their General Practitioner, who can arrange for a timely assessment of that change, which may include a breast examination and other tests such as diagnostic mammogram and/or ultrasound.
Some changes that may indicate the presence of a breast cancer are:
- a lump
- nipple discharge
- a change in the size or shape of the breast or nipple
- an unusual persistent pain
- a change in the skin such as dimpling, puckering or redness.
BreastScreen ACT encourages women aged 50 to 74 years to have a FREE screening mammogram every two years.
Make an appointment
To make an appointment, please phone: 13 20 50.
Group bookings are available for women who would prefer to attend as a group. For further enquiries about group bookings please phone 13 20 50.
If you need interpreter assistance, please call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) first on 13 14 50 and ask to be connected to the BreastScreen ACT central booking service on 13 20 50.
What to bring to your appointment
Wear a two piece outfit such as a skirt or trousers and a shirt.