Your Role in Breast Screening

Women are more likely to have a screening mammogram if they are advised by their GP.

Recommending Women to BreastScreen NSW

Although a doctor’s referral isn’t required for a BreastScreen appointment, research shows that as a GP, you have a significant influence on your patient’s decision to attend a breast screen.

In fact, women are more likely to have a screening mammogram if they are advised by their GP than by anyone else.

Making a recommendation to BreastScreen NSW is simple: 

  • Our request pad can be used to recommend breast screening to your patients

If your patient provides us with your details as her primary healthcare provider, we will keep you informed throughout her screening and assessment process.

Find out more about discussing breast screening with your patients

When to refer a woman to BreastScreen NSW

BreastScreen NSW targets women aged 50-74 for a free screening mammogram every two years.

This is because the majority of breast cancers occur in women aged over 50. In addition, screening mammograms have been shown to be of most benefit in terms of mortality reduction for women in this age group.

Women aged 40-49 with no symptoms are still eligible for a free screening mammogram. However, breast screening is less effective in women of this age group. This is due to biological differences in the breast tissue of pre-menopausal women, resulting in more false negative results, as well as the potential of false positives and increased recall for assessment.

Read more about breast density

Women aged over 74 years are eligible to attend. However, if a patient in this age group would like a screening mammogram, we recommend you discuss with them first whether breast screening is a priority.

Screening mammograms are for asymptomatic women.

Why BreastScreen NSW?

  • Each Screening and Assessment Service is equipped with the latest digital mammography equipment — ensuring that mammograms are of the highest quality, with minimal doses of radiation.
  • To ensure timely results, images from remote screening centres are transmitted to central readings rooms for reading by our specialist doctors.
  • All screening mammograms are independently read by at least two doctors, who are expert readers.


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

Evaluation of BreastScreen Australia Program - Evaluation Final Report, Department of Health and Ageing. Canberra: Department of Health and Ageing, 2009 

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Recommended Reading

Our fact sheet, Your Role as a GP in BreastScreen NSW, has more information about referring patients for a screening mammogram.

View Factsheet


Online Resources

Our directory of useful websites features information, tools and resources relevant to the BreastScreen program.

Go to Online Resources

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