Breast screening participation rates and numbers

Why this indicator is important

Breast screening is for women without any symptoms. Nine out of ten women in NSW with breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease.1 Women who have noticed changes in their breasts should talk to their doctor straight away.

The screening test used is a type of x-ray of the breasts. This test is called a mammogram. 

BreastScreen NSW provides free two-yearly screening mammograms to eligible women in NSW.

The program invites women aged 50-74 years to take part. Women aged 40-49, and those 75 years and over, can also use the program.

A screening mammogram is the best way to detect breast cancer early for women aged 50 years and over. The smaller the cancer is when it is found, the more options the woman has for treatment, and the better the long-term outcomes.2 

About this indicator

This indicator shows participation in breast screening by women aged 50 to 74 in NSW.

  • The biennial breast screening participation rate for women in NSW aged 50–74 increased from 49.1% in 2013–2014 to 53.3% in 2018–2019.
  • Between 2013–2014 and 2018–2019, participation rates for women aged 50–74 years increased in almost all NSW local health districts. The highest participation was in rural and regional areas.

Biennial breast screening participation rate trends for women aged 50–74, NSW, trend, 2013–2019


  1. Data source: BreastScreen NSW (population data are sourced from SAPHaRI, Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence, NSW Ministry of Health).
  2. The participation rates presented here are based on the number of women who live in NSW and are screened in NSW. Interstate clients have been excluded. Therefore, the participation rates for border local health districts (Murrumbidgee, Southern NSW, Northern NSW) might be underestimated.


  1. Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer. Familial breast cancer: collaborative reanalysis of individual data from 52 epidemiological studies including 58,209 women with breast cancer and 101,986 women without the disease. Lancet 2001 Oct 27;358 (9291):1389–99. 
  2. Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. Evaluation of the BreastScreen Australia Program — Evaluation Final Report (pages 49–50). Screening Monograph No.1/2009. Canberra: Department of Health and Ageing, June 2009.