Skip to content

Number of eligible women who have never attended BreastScreen NSW

Why this indicator is important

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

Each year, between 2015 and 2018, 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% had never attended for screening.
  • In 2018, 217,620 women had never attended for screening.

Proportion of eligible BreastScreen NSW clients aged 50–74, by screening category, 2014–2018

Proportion of eligible BreastScreen NSW clients aged 50–to74, by screening category, 2014–2018

N = Number of women aged 50 to 74 years in population in 2018.


  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 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.
  4. 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 2018, whereas the biennial participation rates count women aged 50–74 at the time of their screen in 2017 or 2018, reflecting the BreastScreen Australia data dictionary.
  5. Regular: Screened with BreastScreen NSW within the past 24 months
  6. Lapsed: Not screened with BreastScreen NSW within the past 24 months
  7. Never Screened: Never screened with BreastScreen NSW.


  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.