Number of eligible women who have never attended BreastScreen NSW

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 relates to participation in breast screening by women aged 50 to 74 in NSW.

Each year, between 2015 and 2019, for women in NSW aged 50-74 years:

  • around 50% had been screened by BreastScreen within the recommended period of two years
  • around 30% had screened in the past, but had not returned within the recommended timeframe
  • around 20% (224,839) had never attended for screening.

Proportion of eligible BreastScreen NSW clients aged 50–74, by screening category, 2015–2019

N = Number of women aged 50 to 74 years in population, 2019.

* Screened with BreastScreen NSW within the last 24 months.

** Screened with BreastScreen NSW not within the last 24 months.

^ Never screened with BreastScreen NSW.


  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.
  3. The proportion rates presented for the women screened in the last 24 months cannot be compared with the biennial participation rates for the same period. This indicator counts women aged 50–74 at any time in 2019, whereas the biennial participation rates count women aged 50–74 at the time of their screen in 2018 or 2019, reflecting the BreastScreen Australia data dictionary.


  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. 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.