05 January 2010

The Australian Government today has continued its fight against breast cancer with the announcement that Australian women at risk of breast cancer will be able to be screened by the latest technology as early as next week. 

The Prime Minister today wore pink and helped sizzle sausages at Day 3 of the Sydney Cricket Test between Australia and Pakistan as part of the fund raising efforts for the McGrath Foundation and its work to support women with breast cancer.

The Rudd Government has already delivered $12 million to the McGrath Foundation to recruit, train and employ an additional 44 breast care nurses. The nurses are now in place and working in predominately regional Australia to provide vital information, care and practical and emotional support to women diagnosed with breast cancer and their families and carers.

In addition, women in the Bathurst region will also have access from the 13th of January to state of the art equipment that means they are more likely to have their breast cancer detected and be able to seek early treatment.

Thirteen priority projects totalling $10 million will receive funding this financial year and it forms part of a $120 million national upgrade funded by the Rudd Government to enable BreastScreen services in all locations to move to the latest technology.

It is expected that women in the Illawarra region will be next to benefit, with the upgrade to the region's BreastScreen mobile van set to happen in February. 

As well as providing new mammography equipment, the digital upgrade program will enable electronic transfer of mammography images between services. This will help reduce the time taken for images to be sent from remote locations to major cities for analysis. Radiologists will also be able for the first time to electronically manipulate and magnify the mammography images. 

Women aged from 50 to 69 years are invited to have free two-yearly screens for breast cancer. The program has proven highly successful - since its inception, it has been responsible for a 21 to 28 per cent fall in the number of deaths due to breast cancer. 

Nonetheless, more than 12,000 women and 100 men are diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia each year. 

The BreastScreen mammography equipment upgrade and the valuable work of the McGrath Foundation are only two areas where the Rudd Government is working to improve breast cancer prevention, treatment and support. Other initiatives include:

  • $168 million for Herceptin®, for metastatic breast cancer,
  • $31 million over five years to reimburse external breast prostheses for women who have had a mastectomy as a result of breast cancer, providing up to $400 reimbursement to eligible women through Medicare Australia,
  • $2.5 million over five years from 2008-09 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation for a study involving more than 100,000 women, which aims to improve prevention and treatment of breast cancer.

In addition, the Rudd Government is investing $560 million in ten best-practice regional cancer centres. The regional cancer centres will aim to improve access and support for cancer patients in rural, regional and remote Australia, and help close the gap in cancer outcomes between the city and the country. 

Applications close at 2 pm, Friday 8 January 2010. Organisations wishing to apply can get more information from www.health.gov.au/hhf 

To donate to the McGrath Foundation, please visithttps://www.mcgrathfoundation.com.au/donate/

5 JANUARY 2010
PRESS OFFICE (02) 6277 7744


BreastScreen services to receive the digital upgrade of mammography technology include: 

BreastScreen Queensland sites: 
'Bottlebrush' mobile van operating in the Nambour Region. 
A new digital four-wheeled drive mobile BreastScreen Queensland van which will commence operation in the far northern region of Queensland within months. 

BreastScreen New South Wales sites: 
Mobile van operating in the Hunter New England region 

BreastScreen Victoria sites: 
North West 
St Vincent's Hospital 
La Trobe Hospital 
East Bentleigh/Moorabbin 

BreastScreen Northern Territory sites: 

BreastScreen Tasmania sites: 

BreastScreen Western Australia site: 

BreastScreen South Australia site: 
Frome Road Clinic