Screening Interval Guidelines

BreastScreen NSW offers free screening mammograms to most women once every two years. However, for a small number of women, annual screening is advisable.

What is the recommended screening interval?

BreastScreen NSW offers free screening mammograms to the majority of women once every two years. However, for a small number of women, annual screening is advisable.

The recommended breast screening interval is determined and/or reviewed when a woman presents for her routine screening mammogram appointment.

Eligibility for Annual Screening

Eligibility for annual breast screening is determined against the following criteria:

Criteria

Details

Previous diagnosis of breast cancer

Includes invasive and in-situ cancer sub-types

BreastScreen NSW recommends that women with a previous history of breast cancer should be at least five years post-diagnosis before re-attending for a screening mammogram.

However, the program’s policy allows for annual rescreens for any woman diagnosed with breast cancer on the advice of her specialist.

Previous benign biopsy in which any of these features were identified:

  • Atypical ductal or lobular hyperplasia
  • Lobular carcinoma in-situ

Family history of breast cancer

BreastScreen NSW routinely offers annual screening mammograms to women who have a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter, father, brother, son) who was diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 50.

A woman can have her screening interval reviewed further if she has concerns about her family history and either herself or her doctor requests an additional review.

If a review is requested, the woman’s screening interval will be determined by the applicable category recommendations outlined in the Cancer Australia Familial Risk Assessment – Breast and Ovarian Cancer (FRA-BOC) online tool.

The FRA-BOC tool categorises women into three levels of risk for breast cancer according to family history. 

  • If a woman is confirmed to be in risk category 1 or 2, she will be offered biennial screening.
  • If a woman is confirmed to be in risk category 3, she will be advised to see her family doctor for discussion and possible referral to the most appropriate clinical service. If the client wishes to remain with BreastScreen NSW, she will be offered annual screening upon informing the Program of her decision.

Specialist recommendation

If a designated radiologist and/or multidisciplinary team within BreastScreen NSW decides that a patient requires annual screening, this will be offered by the BreastScreen NSW Program.

Individual Assessment

To discuss the possibility of annual breast screening for a patient with different criteria to those listed here, please contact BreastScreen NSW on 13 20 50.

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