The Andrews Labor Government is rolling out cutting-edge 3D breast screening technology across the state – speeding up lifesaving diagnosis and cutting down on invasive procedures.
Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos today announced up to $1.8 million for six new digital breast tomosyntheses machines to provide more Victorian women with a greater chance of early detection.
A record 267,589 women were screened for breast cancer by BreastScreen Victoria in the last financial year – the highest number ever. The number of Aboriginal women being screened is also growing, rising 10 per cent in the past 12 months.
For women in the BreastScreen Victoria program who are called back for more tests, the machines can take a 3D image, instead of the standard 2D image, delivering a faster diagnosis. It means eligible women can get the all clear quicker or start treatment sooner if breast cancer is detected.
The 3D machines will be based at North Western BreastScreen Victoria Reading and Assessment Service at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and at services in Ballarat, Bendigo and Traralgon. There will also be two machines at Monash Health in East Bentleigh.
This will enable state-wide coverage across reading and assessment services, and better access for women – at no cost to the patient. The full roll out is expected to be completed by mid-2020.
Thanks to earlier detection and better treatments, more Victorian women are surviving breast cancer, with the five-year survival rate now at 91 per cent compared to 73 per cent in 1986.
But we know we need to do more to save more lives. Breast cancer is the second most common new cancer in Victoria, with 4,524 Victorian women diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017, and 779 dying from the disease.
The Victorian Cancer Plan 2016-20 sets an ambitious target of saving 10,000 lives from cancer in the next 10 years.
Victorian women aged between 50 and 74 are encouraged to have a free, two-yearly breast screen with BreastScreen Victoria by calling 13 20 50 or booking online.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos
“We’re making it easier for women to get an early diagnosis by rolling out the latest 3D imaging technology to give them the best shot at beating cancer.”
“Early diagnosis is the key to surviving breast cancer and 3D imaging means more women can get a more accurate picture with faster results, and less unnecessary and invasive follow-up testing at no expense to eligible women.”
“More Victorians than ever before are being screened for breast cancer. A free, two-yearly screen is so important. It could save your life or that of someone you love.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020