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Breast cancer screening and prevention

Breast cancer is a major health issue for women. The causes of breast cancer are not fully understood and opportunities for preventing the disease are extremely limited. Age is the best indicator of risk, with over 76% of all breast cancer occurring in women aged over 50.

The most effective proven method of intervention, to reduce death and illness from breast cancer, is through regular screening of women at risk using mammography (screening mammogram). Finding breast cancer early reduces the chances of dying from the disease and can simplify treatment and reduce recovery time.

While some risk factors may not be within your control, adopting a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk of getting breast cancer.

  • Maintain a healthy body weight—for most women, a waistline measurement of less than 80cm or body mass index (BMI) less than 25 significantly decreases your risk of breast cancer. 
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet—enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods each day, including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Be active every day—regular physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer. You should aim for 30 minutes or more of physical activity every day.
  • Avoid or limit alcohol intake—if you choose to drink, try to limit your alcohol intake to 1 or less standard alcoholic drink per day. 
  • Participate in breast cancer screening from the age of 50.

BreastScreen Queensland

BreastScreen Queensland is part of the National BreastScreen Australia program, providing access to free screening and assessment, to eligible women every 2 years. The program is available to women at over 200 locations throughout the state.

Who is eligible?

This program is for eligible women without symptoms of breast cancer. The program targets women 50 to 74 years as this age group is most at risk of developing breast cancer, however the program also accepts women in their 40s or 75 years and over.

Women younger than 40 are not eligible for screening in the program for several important reasons:

  • There is no current evidence that screening mammography is effective in detecting early stages of breast cancer in this age group
  • There are concerns about the effect of regular mammograms on young breast tissue 
  • Young breasts generally have denser tissue which makes it difficult to see breast cancer.

Service locations

Brisbane area
Brisbane Northside Service
Brisbane Southside Service
Ipswich Service

South East Queensland
Wide Bay Service
Sunshine Coast Service
Gold Coast Service
Toowoomba Service

Central and North Queensland
Cairns Service
Mackay Service
Rockhampton Service
Townsville Service 

BreastScreen Queensland mobile schedule

To find out when BreastScreen Queensland is in your area please refer to the mobile service schedule.

BreastScreen Queensland Register

The Queensland Health BreastScreen Queensland Register is a statewide confidential client information database that stores the number and characteristics of women screened, information about women recalled to assessment, number and size of breast cancers detected and treatment outcomes.

The BreastScreen Queensland Register will:

  • send you a reminder letter when you are next due for a breastscreen
  • send you and your doctor (if nominated) results from your breastscreen
  • send you an appointment confirmation letter and SMS prior to your appointment
  • store your personal information such as name, address, family history and information from your breastscreen and/or further assessment examinations (radiology, pathology, clinical tests, examinations)
  • provide non-identifying data for epidemiological analysis to identify trends in breast cancer characteristics, participation rates, evaluate the success of the program and inform future service planning.

Update your contact details

To update your contact details:

Breast changes

All women should be aware of the normal look and feel of their breasts and be aware of changes such as: 

  • new lump or lumpiness, especially if it's only in 1 breast
  • change in the size or shape of your breast
  • change to the nipple such as crusting, ulcer, redness or inversion
  • nipple discharge that occurs without squeezing
  • change in the skin of your breast such as redness or dimpling
  • unusual pain that doesn't go away.

If you notice any of the signs above you should consult your doctor.

Contact us

To arrange a free breast screen

To make an appointment call 13 20 50. You will be automatically connected to your nearest BreastScreen Queensland service centre.

General information

For general information or support call 13 20 50, email or visit the BreastScreen Queensland website.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)
Last updated
26 November 2015
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