SCREENING rates for breast cancer in the Carrum and Frankston electorates are among the lowest across the state, according to new data.
BreastScreen Victoria noted participation rates for 2012-14 reveal just 49 per cent of women in Carrum and Frankston aged between the ages of 50 and 69 had checks for breast cancer as part of the free BreastScreen Victoria program.
The participation average across Victoria was 54 per cent with suburbs such as Geelong and Essendon hitting the 60 per cent participation mark.
Parliamentary secretary for health Mary-Anne Thomas, who released the data to state MPs last week, said it is vital to detect breast cancer early to improve the chances of survival.
“A regular breast screen, every two years, is the best way to find cancer early,” she said.
“I encourage Victorian women, particularly those over the age of 50, to have their breasts screened regularly, and if you’re eligible, it’s free through BreastScreen Victoria.”
The BreastScreen program enables eligible women to get free mammogram checks.
BreastScreen Victoria CEO Vicki Pridmore said participation rates are influenced by many factors, including the ageing population – meaning more women are entering the age range of BreastScreen’s target population of 50-74.
“Urban participation trends tend to be lower than rural and remote areas across screening programs in many countries due to the diversity of community, transience and lifestyle factors. Appointment availability may be an issue in specific areas and increased private screening in some areas may also contribute to a reduced participation rate.”
In 2014-15, the number of Victorian women screened in the program hit an all-time high of 241,122.
BreastScreen Victoria has clinics in Frankston and Moorabbin.
See breastscreen.org.au or call 13 20 50 for further information and to book an appointment.