Have you received your Breastscreen reminder notice?

28 Aug 2023 media release

Have you received your BreastScreen reminder notice in the mail? Well, if you haven’t it may be because you have turned 74 and have reached the cut off list to receive reminder notices.  

Member for Narungga Fraser Ellis believes with life expectancy now rising to 85.2 for females and 81.3 for males, the cut off age to receive reminders for such health screenings should also be raised and is urging State Government to review this policy.

“With the mobile BreastScreen bus currently in Wallaroo again offering its free mammograms it is timely to look at the process for such vital health checks reminders which are only sent out to people aged between 50 and 74.

“I have contacted Minister Picton about this issue before and his response was there was currently no evidence that demonstrates an age raise would result in more health benefits but I think this is not acceptable. Early detection programs save lives and bluntly, health expenditure, so I believe it is worthwhile reviewing this practise and raising the age to receive the annual reminders to 80”, Mr Ellis said.

It is noted that in 1991 BreastScreen Australia’s defined key screening age parameters were 50 to 69 but they amended these figures in 2013 reportedly to reflect rising life expectancy. Mr Ellis believes another rise is now justified with the Federal Intergenerational Report figures citing unprecedented numbers of Australians are now living well into their ‘80s.

Free screenings for breast and bowel cancers are offered to all people over the age of 50, and whilst people over the age of 74 can present themselves to receive such testing for free, they do not receive reminders in the mail like they are accustomed to and there is evidence there are poor outcomes for people as a result.

“I received contact from a constituent who accepted that it was her own responsibility to keep undergoing health checks, but because she didn’t receive her reminder in the mail it slipped her mind and unfortunately it was not until symptoms occurred that she attended her doctor to find out she had more advanced breast cancer”, Mr Ellis said.

Mr Ellis urges constituents who wish to provide feedback on this issue to please contact his office.

“Any feedback I receive is forwarded to the Minister and serves as evidence whether or not this policy requires a change”, Mr Ellis said.