Breast Cancer Screening

  • 1 in 8 women in NSW will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
  • 9 out of 10 women who develop breast cancer do not have a family history of breast cancer.
  • the five-year survival rate for women with the earliest stage of breast cancer is 98% (tumour size 0 to 10mm), compared to 73% for women whose tumour size is 30mm or greater – early detection is vital.
  • the aim of the WCSC is to increase the number of  women aged 50 to 74 who have a screening mammogram every two years.

North Coast Breast Cancer screening rates


Visit the BreastScreen NSW website for more information about breast cancer and breast screening.

Each year the Cancer Institute NSW provides NCPHN with the “Reporting for Better Cancer Outcomes Performance Report: NCPHN”.

The data presented here is:

  • derived from the 2016 report, along with postcode-level data provided by Cancer Institute NSW.
  • from the BreastScreen service and does not capture screening via private provider. It is thought that private screening rates would not have a large effect on participation statistics.

Key points on breast screening participation rates in the North Coast region:

  • Women aged 50-54 have particularly poor participation rates and should be considered a priority
  • Postcode level analysis shows several ‘hotspot’ areas of under-screening (refer to Map 1)
  • Over 20% of women in Tweed and Bellingen have never screened with Breast Screen.
  • Of Local Government Areas with culturally and linguistically (CALD) diverse populations larger than 200, Tweed Heads, Lismore and Byron have the lowest screening rates of CALD women, and are below the state average.
  • Women with German, Italian and French as a first language represent populations of more than 200 woman with screening rates below 33%.

North Coast participation in women 50-69

Below state averageNorth Coast top performing areasMid-range
LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA NAMEBreast screen. Participation women aged 50-69
Breast screen participation aboriginal women 50-69 2014-15Aboriginal women population size
Total: 1668
Breast screen participation CALD women 50-69 2014-15CALD women population size
Total: 2388
Clarence Valley62.455.620968.9125
Coffs Harbour59.353.320648.6492
Port Macquarie-Hastings60.845.719146.2295
Richmond Valley61.344.211361.754

Data source: Cancer Institute NSW, 2016. Reporting for Better Cancer Outcomes Performance Report 2016: North Coast Primary Health Network Internal access.

Culturally and linguistically diverse women’s participation

Whilst the number of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) women in the NCPHN footprint is relatively low, in is clear that CALD women are screening at rates much lower than the general population.

Table 2: Language spoken by women participating in Breast Screening, 2014-15.

LanguageNorth Coast PHN
Women ScreenedPopulationParticipation rate

This website is no longer active but is available to browse as a resource.

Women’s Cancer Screening Collaborative (WCSC) 2017-2018

Through the delivery of structured, clinician-led general practice quality improvement and health literacy interventions, general practices worked towards increasing access to and equity of women’s cancer screening programs across the North Coast.

From January 2017 to July 2018, general practices improved clinical systems and data auditing processes to better identify and remind never or under-screened at-risk populations of women. Focus groups were also held with at-risk women to understand the environmental and individual barriers and motivators to screening. 

This WCSC website acted as an information repository for all WCSC developed content providing access to and sharing of quality improvement tools, change strategy resources and ideas.

WCSC evaluation and resources can be found on the North Coast Primary Health Network. 

Visit Resources

You have Successfully Subscribed!