The path to optimising breast screening in Australia

This morning, Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Mark Butler, released the outcomes of the Roadmap to Optimising Screening in Australia (ROSA) project and announced the BreastScreen National Policy and Funding Review. 

The ROSA Project was a four-year initiative delivered by Cancer Council Australia and funded by the Federal Government. It considered the evidence and options for more risk-based and personalised approaches to breast cancer screening in Australia, before submitting recommendations including how BreastScreen could best prepare for the changes required.  

In line with the ROSA project's recommendations, the Australian Federal Government, with support from the State and Territory Governments, will now undertake a broader Policy and Funding Review of the BreastScreen Australia program with a focus on three workstreams: 

  1. Policy to ensure BreastScreen Australia’s national policy is the very best model and informed by the latest evidence. Factors considered will include the age range, screening technology, screening interval, risk factors such as breast density, and risk-based screening approaches.  
  2. Quality and safety mechanisms, including the accreditation system, in light of the latest evidence and standard setting techniques. 
  3. Funding to develop a contemporary funding model for the program that can support future evidence-based changes. 

The Review will inform the future strategic direction of the BreastScreen Australia program by developing recommendations for evidence-based best practice, national consistency and a sustainable increase in program participation rates. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2024. 

This announcement marks the start of an exciting time for the BreastScreen program. 

BreastScreen Victoria CEO, Rita Butera, is enthusiastic about the Review.   

“We welcome the BreastScreen Australia Review and will be assisting the process in any way we can,” Rita said. 

An Expert Advisory Group will support the review, alongside public consultation including under-screened communities such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and culturally and linguistically diverse groups. The Department of Health and Aged Care will update the BreastScreen Australia website with details on public participation as the Review progresses.  

If you would like to learn more about the BreastScreen Australia Review, visit the Department of Health and Aged Care website.