Early detection of breast cancer gives the best possible chance of survival.
The earlier an abnormality is found, the greater the number of effective treatment options.
In Australia, free routine mammographic screening is available in each state for women aged 50 to 74 through BreastScreen Australia. Women 40 to 49 years old can also have mammograms, however breast screening is less effective for women under 40 years old. The density (thickness) of breast tissue makes it more difficult to see a cancer in an x-ray and fewer women are diagnosed in this age group.
This service is currently not offered to women under the age of 40. Research suggests that younger women do not benefit from routine mammographic screenings. This is because they have denser breast tissue than older women. It is also not offered to men due to their lack of breast tissue.
Regardless of age or gender, it’s important to be ‘breast aware’.
Be familiar with the normal look and feel of your breasts. If you notice a change, consult your GP, who may refer you for imaging tests. If the results appear suspicious, you will be referred for a biopsy for confirmation and diagnosis.