HealthStats NSW

Breast cancer screening by Local Health District

  • single year
  • by year
  • trends
Albury LGA Residents
46.8Far West
44.4Western NSW
52.7Southern NSW
46Mid North Coast
56.7Northern NSW
54.7Hunter New England
60.1Central Coast
53.6Northern Sydney
56.8Nepean Blue Mountains
46.5Western Sydney
47.5Illawarra Shoalhaven
56.5South Eastern Sydney
52.2South Western Sydney
  • + Source

    BreastScreen NSW and ABS population estimates.Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence, NSW Ministry of Health.

  • + Notes

    The biennial screening rate was calculated by the BreastScreen NSW from the number of women aged 50 - 69 years who undergone mammography screening at least once during a two-year reporting period, as per cent of the target population of eligible NSW women residents aged 50 - 69 years. The target population was derived from the Estimated Resident Female Population of NSW by taking an average of the populations accross relevant age groups in the 2-year period.

  • + Commentary

    Mammographic screening is seen as the best population-based method to reduce mortality and morbidity attributable to breast cancer, by detecting early-stage breast cancer.

    The NSW Cancer Plan includes a target to increase participation in the age group 50-69 years so that over 70% of women aged 50-69 years should have 2 yearly mammograms by 2010.

    The two-yearly screening rate for breast cancer in women aged 50-69 years in NSW for 2009-2010 was 52.7%. The rate of screening was the highest in the Hunter New England (at 60.1%) and the lowest in the Far West (at 44.4%) Local Health Districts.  

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    • Key points: Cancer

      • Cancer is Australia's leading cause of disease burden. It accounts for almost one-fifth of years of healthy life lost due to premature death, disease, and injury.

      • In NSW in 2008, there were 36,611 new cases of cancer (57% in males) and 13,186 deaths (57% in males). Between 1998 and 2007 the incidence rate for all cancers rose by 11% in males, but was stable in females. Death rates fell by 12.9% in males and 6.4% in females between 1998 and 2007.

      • In 2008 in NSW the five leading types of new cases of cancer in descending order were:

      • prostate cancer

      • colorectal cancer

      • breast cancer

      • melanoma

      • lung cancer.

      • However in 2007 in NSW:

      • lung cancer was the leading cause of cancer death

      • colorectal cancer was the second leading cause of cancer death

      • prostate cancer was the third leading cause of cancer death

      • breast cancer was the fourth cause of cancer death

      • melanoma was the eighth leading cause of cancer death.

      • A bowel (colorectal) cancer screening program commenced in NSW in August 2006.

      • Cervical cancer cases and deaths decreased between 1998 and 2007 and in 2008 it was the fourteenth most common female cancer. It can be prevented through the early detection of precancerous lesions by two-yearly Pap tests of women aged 20-69 years. The percentage of eligible women who had their Pap test by December 2010 was 56.4%. Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination can also prevent cervical cancer: almost all cases of cervical cancer are due to HPV infection. HPV also causes cancers in other parts of the body, including the vulva, vagina, penis and anus.

      • Breast cancer was the most common cancer among females and the second most common cause of cancer death among females. BreastScreen NSW provides a two-yearly mammographic screening service to women aged 50-69 years in NSW, which aims to detect early cases of breast cancer. The percentage of eligible women who had their two-yearly mammogram by December 2013 was 48.3%.

    • Introduction: Cancer


      Cancer (that is, malignant neoplasm) is a diverse group of diseases in which abnormal cells proliferate and spread out of control. Cancer can develop from most types of cells in different parts of the body, each with its own pattern of growth and spread.

      Some cancers are very invasive and invade adjacent organs and spread to other parts of the body (metastasise) quickly, while others may remain in the body for years without showing any clinical symptoms. Benign neoplasms never spread to distant organs.

      Cancers are classified according to the organ in which they originate (primary site). Even when cancers spread to other organs (secondary cancers or metastases) it is usually possible to ascertain the origin of the malignant cells.

      Burden of disease from cancer

      Cancer is a major cause of mortality in Australia and contributes greatly to morbidity and disability. It accounts for 19% of the total burden of disease in Australia (Begg et al. 2007).

      Cancer incidence in NSW has been increasing for a number of decades. As in other regions of the developed world, this is due to the ageing of the population and lifestyle changes. The rankings of individual cancers have also changed. In 1972, the four most common cancers in males were lung, colorectal (large bowel), prostate, and stomach; and in females were breast, colorectal, melanoma, and cervical cancers. The 2008 rank order is now prostate, colorectal, melanoma, and lung cancers in males; and breast, colorectal, melanoma, and lung cancers in females.

      Risk factors

      Most cancers have a unique set of causal factors, but many share risk factors. These include: smoking (responsible for the majority of preventable cancers); dietary influences; infectious agents; radiation (including ultraviolet radiation); and genetic factors. The most significant risk factor for developing cancer is old age.


      Begg S, Vos T, Barker B. The burden of disease and injury in Australia, 2003. Cat. no. PHE 82 edition. Canberra: AIHW, 2007. Available at:

    • Interventions: Cancer

      Some cancers can be prevented though the avoidance of known risk factors. Risk of death from a number of cancers can be reduced by screening, early detection and treatment, and appropriate management and follow-up (Tracey et al. 2010).

      The NSW Government established the Cancer Institute NSW in 2003, in recognition of the importance of accelerating improvements in cancer control in NSW. In 2010, the Cancer Institute NSW prepared its third plan, the NSW Cancer Plan 2011-2015, which aims to consolidate the strategic activities for cancer control in NSW including prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation services as well as cancer information, education and research (Cancer Institute NSW 2010).

      The Cancer Institute NSW is responsible for the NSW Pap Test Registry as well as the Central Cancer Registry. In July 2005, the Cancer Institute NSW assumed responsibility for the management of the breast and cervical screening programs and is supporting the staged introduction of bowel cancer screening in NSW, which began in NSW in August 2006. The success of vaccination against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is monitored by the Cancer Institute NSW using statistics from its Registries. The HPV vaccine is offered though the School Based Immunisation Program and from GPs.  NSW Health runs the program, see


      Cancer Institute NSW. NSW Cancer Plan 2011-2015. Lessening the impact of cancer in NSW. Sydney: Cancer Institute NSW, 2010. Available at

      NSW Ministry of Health. NSW School Vaccination Program. . Available at 

      Tracey E, Kerr T, Dobrovic A, Currow D. Cancer In NSW: Incidence and Mortality Report 2008. Sydney: Cancer Institute NSW, 2010. Available at

    • For more information: Cancer

      Useful websites include:

      Cancer Institute NSW at

      Australian Bureau of Statistics at

      Australian Institute of Health and Welfare at

      Healthdirect at

      New South Wales Government. Public Health Act 1991 and Public Health Act 2010. Parliamentary Counsel's Office. Available at

Last Updated At: Friday, 9 March 2012