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Ann Oncol. 2003 Aug;14(8):1209-11.

Evaluation of the organised mammographic screening programme in Australia.

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Cancer Epidemiology Centre, Cancer Council Victoria, Carlton South, Victoria, Australia.


An organised approach to mammographic screening in Australia commenced in 1992 as a free service for asymptomatic women in the target age range 50-69 years and accessible to all women aged >/=40 years. Screening is performed by two-view mammography, women aged 50-69 years being sent reminders every 2 years for repeat screens. National Accreditation Standards have been agreed and BreastScreen Australia has developed mechanisms to monitor and report performance including systems and standards for data collection. The national report includes participation rates, small cancer detection rates and programme sensitivities. These indicate that BreastScreen Australia is meeting its accreditation standards with respect to most measures. Routinely collected outcome data reflect an increasing trend in the proportion of women receiving breast conserving surgery; a decline in the proportion of women diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ undergoing axillary dissection and an increasing use of combination therapies with a corresponding decrease in the use of hormonal therapy alone. There have been increases in breast cancer incidence and falls in mortality with the largest changes in women aged 50-69 years. As the BreastScreen Australia database is routinely linked in future to population cancer registries, the mortality reduction due to mammographic screening may be estimated more precisely.

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