Information about breast screening for Aboriginal women

Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. Breast screening can find cancers before they can be felt or noticed – you have a better chance of survival when breast cancer is found early.

Common questions about breast screening.

What is a breast screen?

Do I need a breast screen?

Where can I get a free breast screen?

How is a breast screen done?

When will I receive my results?

Want more information?

More information about breast screening can be found on the Resources and publications page.

What is a breast screen?

A breast screen, or mammogram, is an x-ray of the breasts for women who have not noticed any symptoms or changes in their breasts. The x-ray pictures can find cancers as small as a grain of rice. There is no evidence that breast screening causes cancer.

Do I need a breast screen?

Women aged 50 to 74 can have a free breast screen every 2 years at a BreastScreen NSW service. However, women over the age of 40 years are also welcome to attend. If you are between 50 to 74 years old, BreastScreen NSW will contact you when it is time for your next breast screen. You don’t need a doctor’s referral.

It is important that you participate in regular breast screening, even if you feel OK.

Where can I get a free breast screen?

You can have a free breast screen at a BreastScreen NSW service. There are services located at many sites including hospitals, shopping centres and mobile vans. We are happy to arrange group bookings for you, your family and friends.

The BreastScreen directory has a full list of BreastScreen sites.

How is a breast screen done?

  • Our screening staff are all women.
  • Your appointment will take about 20 minutes.
  • A female worker will take you into the x-ray room.
  • When you are ready we will take at least two x-rays of each breast.
  • The x-ray machine will firmly press each breast to get the best x-ray. Some women find this uncomfortable, but this discomfort usually only lasts about 10 seconds.
  • If you experience pain you should let the female worker know, she will work with you to make sure you are as comfortable as possible.
  • You can ask for the procedure to stop at anytime.

When will I receive my results?

The results of your breast screen will be sent to you around 2 weeks after your appointment. If you don't receive your results or are worried, call Breastscreen NSW on 13 20 50.

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