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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 more than 75% 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 using mammography (breast x-ray). 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—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, which is strongly recommended for women aged between 50 and 74 years.

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 260 locations throughout the state.

Who is eligible?

This program is designed for women without symptoms of breast cancer and actively encourages women 50 to 74 years to participate as this age group is most at risk of developing breast cancer. Women in their 40s or 75 years and over can also participate in the BreastScreen Queensland program.

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 areaBrisbane Northside Service
Brisbane Southside Service
Ipswich Service

South East QueenslandWide Bay Service
Sunshine Coast Service
Gold Coast Service
Toowoomba Service

Central and North QueenslandCairns Service
Mackay Service
Rockhampton Service
Townsville Service

BreastScreen Queensland mobile schedule

BreastScreen Queensland also provides mobile screening services. To find out when the BreastScreen Queensland Van may be visiting 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 collects and stores the minimum data set in accordance with national BreastScreen Australia requirements, including the complete screening and assessment history for each woman.

The BreastScreen Queensland Register will:

  • send you a reminder when you are next due for a breast screen
  • send you and your doctor (if nominated) results from your breast screen or assessment
  • send you a confirmation letter and text message 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 and reporting for quality assurance, monitoring and evaluation to 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 (turning in)
  • nipple discharge that occurs without squeezing
  • change in the skin of your breast such as a rash, redness or dimpling

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

Contact us

To make an appointment call 13 20 50 or book online.

For any online booking enquiries, email bsqronlinesupport@health.qld.gov.au.

General information

For general information call 13 20 50, email cssb@health.qld.gov.au or visit the BreastScreen Queensland website.