ATSI BreastScreen Participation Surge


The latest Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) BreastScreen participation statistics have revealed a five per cent increase in the number of women using the program.

The ATSI breast screening participation rate has risen from 34% in 2011-2013 to 39% in 2012-2014.

“The participation rate is still well below the average rate of 54%, but it’s a significant increase within a two year period,” said BreastScreen Victoria CEO Vicki Pridmore.

Aboriginal Health Coordinator Deb Mellett was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. She’s now fully recovered and in good health and urges women to book in for a breast screen once every two years.

A breast screen only takes 10 minutes so I encourage all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to do it. The statistics tell us that they don’t do it, and then they get to a point where it’s really quite serious, let’s not get to that point, let’s do it before we have to go through that.
Deb Mellett

Hear more about Ms Mellett’s story below.

Meanwhile, 55 year old Mulinjali woman in the Bundjalung nation Darleen Christensen has had a breast screen regularly since the age of 50. She has never been diagnosed with breast cancer and chooses to screen as it provides her with peace of mind.

“I have a breast screen every two years for my own health and well-being as it’s important to look after your health. I’m actually due to have my next breast screen later this year and I won’t be putting it off,” Ms Christensen said.

“I’d like to encourage other Aboriginal women to do this too because early detection is better than no detection or late detection. If they find anything there, you can get on to it quickly.”

BreastScreen Victoria particularly encourages women aged 50 to 74 to screen as it is proven they are at most benefit from the program.

Regular breast screens are the best way to find breast cancer early, before any symptoms are noticed and when treatment is likely to be most successful.

Women diagnosed with breast cancer are surviving significantly longer than ever before. The five year breast cancer survival rate now at more than 89 per cent and can be attributed to breast screening and improved treatment options.

To make a breast screen appointment book online at or call 13 20 50.