More women are participating in BreastScreen Victoria’s free program than in previous years, according to the latest data.
The BreastScreen Victoria 2014-16 Participation Statistics reveal that 422,209 women across the state aged 50-74 accepted the well-being challenge to complete their regular screen. This is an increase of 20,227 women, resulting in a statewide participation rate of 53.6% for 2014-16.
“It’s encouraging to see that the number of women taking up free breast screens with our service is growing in line with our ageing population,” said BreastScreen Victoria CEO, Vicki Pridmore.
Women in the Portland area using their local clinic screened at the state’s highest rate (60.4%), while the Mallacoota Mobile Screening Service recorded the highest participation (77.4%) of the vans that travel throughout regional and rural areas.
Analysing the data by remoteness classification, participation in outer regional Victoria – e.g., Horsham, Mildura - continues to be the highest at 58.2% followed by inner regional - e.g., Warrnambool, Bendigo - at 55.4%.
“It’s not unusual for women in urban areas to participate in screening programs at lower rates. Community diversity and lifestyle factors all play a role in these lower rates,” said Ms Pridmore. “It forces us to think about how we can provide a more flexible service.”
Underscreened groups have also shown improvement with BreastScreen Victoria continuing to make gains to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, for whom breast cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed.
A total of 1,215 women identifying as indigenous, aged 50-74, were screened, an increase of 148 on the previous reporting period.
BreastScreen Victoria also screened a total of 84,966 Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) women aged 50-74, an increase of 2,695 women.
“The Breast screening experience is different for every woman,” said Ms Pridmore. “BreastScreen Victoria works hard to provide a service that is culturally sensitive to women’s needs and expectations.”