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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 October 2010) . . Page.. 4759 ..


(1) that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month;

(2) that according to the 2010 ACT Chief Health Officer’s report, the most common cause of cancer related death in females was breast cancer at 18.6 per cent of all deaths;

(3) the recently released Breast Cancer Treatment Group ten year report indicates that the ACT has the highest age-standardised incidence of breast cancer in Australia, however despite this, breast cancer outcomes in the ACT are excellent, both in terms of disease-free survival and overall mortality from breast cancer;

(4) that BreastScreen ACT and South East NSW is a population-based screening program aimed at detecting abnormalities early for well women over the age of 40 and targeted specifically to those women in the 50-69 age group;

(5) that in the 2009-10 financial year, BreastScreen ACT and NSW exceeded their target of 12 000 screens by 909 screens (8 per cent);

(6) The Canberra Hospital now provides a Diagnostic Breast Imaging Service which will provide x-ray and ultrasound assessment for patients for the first time in the ACT; and

(7) the recent rollout of the $5.7 million digital breast screening technology across BreastScreen clinics in the ACT which will provide high quality images and will enable electronic processing of screening images, improving diagnostic times for women in the ACT.

As many of you in this place will be aware, October is known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Pink Ribbon Day is Monday, 25 October—that is, next Monday. Breast cancer is the most common invasive cancer in females and is responsible for the highest death rate. Although uncommon in males, one in 583 men may be affected. Over 12,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia each year. Sadly, more than 2,500 women are expected to lose their battle with breast cancer each year.

In the ACT, breast cancer represents 34.5 per cent of all cancers, with an average of 205 new cases per year over the five-year period 2002-06. Yearly rates have not changed significantly since 2002. Breast cancer accounted for five per cent of all deaths in women in the ACT over the same five-year period 2002-06. In this period, one in 10 women in the ACT developed breast cancer before 75 years of age and one in seven before 85 years of age. Rates of breast cancer in the ACT were significantly higher than the national rates between 2002 and 2004. Since the year 2000, rates of breast cancer in the ACT have been consistently higher than the national rates, although this difference was only statistically significant in the years 2000 to 2004.

These women are our mothers, grandmothers, daughter, sisters, aunts, cousins, nieces, work colleagues and friends. For example, my daughter-in-law in Alice Springs was thought to have a possible malignant tumour in her breast tissue not so long ago. However, and fortunately, after undergoing further tests, this was found not to be the


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