Breast screening participation rates and numbers by Aboriginal women

Why this indicator is important

The number of Aboriginal women participating in breast screening is increasing across NSW but remains lower than the state average for all women. This results in later diagnosis and poorer outcomes.

Breast screening programs test women for early evidence of breast cancer, long before a woman can feel any breast changes.

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

Breast screening is for women without any symptoms. Women who have noticed changes in their breast should talk to their doctor straight away.

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.1

About this indicator

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

  • In 2017–2018, participation among Aboriginal communities in NSW increased.
  • 44.0% (8,237) of Aboriginal women participated in breast screening.
Biennial breast screening participation rate trends for NSW women aged 50–74, by population type, 2015–2018

Biennial breast screening participation rate trends for NSW women aged 50–to74, by population type, 2015–2018

N= Number of women aged 50-74 years in population, 2017-2018.


  1. Data source: BreastScreen NSW (population data are sourced from SAPHaRI, Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence, NSW Ministry of Health; Aboriginal and culturally and linguistically diverse population data are sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics). 
  2. The participation rates presented here are expected to differ from figures published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare for the same period, due to variations in the population projections used in the denominator.
  3. 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.


  1. Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. Screening Monograph No.1/2009. Evaluation of the BreastScreen Australia Program – Evaluation Final Report (pages 49–50). Canberra: Department of Health and Ageing, June 2009.