Why breast screening is important

1 in 7 women in NSW will develop breast cancer

A mammogram is the best method to detect breast cancer early for women over the age of 50. 

1 in 7 women in NSW will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, and the risk of developing breast cancer increases with age. BreastScreen NSW recommends women aged 50 – 74 have a mammogram every two years.

Why have a mammogram?

A mammogram is an x-ray of the breasts.

The x-ray pictures can find cancers as small as a grain of rice before you or your doctor can feel any changes in your breasts.

Having a mammogram takes about 20 minutes and is free.

A female radiographer then takes you to the x-ray room where you undress in private.

Once positioned by the radiographer, the mammogram is conducted which involves two x-rays of each breast. The machine presses against the breast, lasting about 10 seconds.

You will receive your results by mail around 10 working days after your mammogram. If you have provided your doctor's details they will also receive a copy. 

Why are mammograms important?

When breast cancer is found early, most women will get better and get back to their normal lives.

This is because breast cancer treatment works best when the cancer is still small and has not spread outside the breast to other parts of the body.

If a cancer is picked up by BreastScreen NSW you are almost half as likely to need a mastectomy.

If at any time you notice a change in your breast, please see your doctor without delay.

Book a screening clinic or a mobile screening van near you.


1. Annual NSW cancer incidence and mortality data set, 2019 (sourced from the NSW Cancer Registry, Cancer Institute NSW). https://www.cancer.nsw.gov.au/research-and-data/cancer-data-and-statistics/data-sources-calculations-and-notes