Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 October 2010) . . Page.. 4773 ..
lung cancer, which is why it is so important to keep tobacco control on our legislative agenda. Lung cancer and smoking-related cancers, the numbers of them and the peaking for women are extremely disturbing.
We will not support Mr Hanson’s amendment. When we look at the latest data, the total breast screens target for the ACT is 12,000. At 31 March this year, it was 17 per cent above the annual target, and there is no doubt that the annual target will be and was exceeded. With respect to the total number of breast screens for women aged 50 to 69, we target 10½ thousand women. That target will be met. With respect to the results for women getting their breast screens within 28 days, the target is 100 per cent. At the end of the March quarter, it was 99 per cent for the year.
In the area of making an appointment for a breast screen within 28 days, I think that is a national measure but I am not sure it is the most useful measure. Our target is 90 per cent. By the end of March it was 30 per cent. It has been there for some time now. Some of that is to do with how women choose to have their appointments. Our experience is that they like to book ahead. So I am not sure how useful that is as a measure of performance. But I will take further advice on that.
With respect to the percentage of women receiving an assessment within 28 days, the target is 90 per cent and at the end of March it was 85 per cent. There was a slowdown in January, so we do expect that to pick up.
I think that, on the whole, BreastScreen ACT does a fabulous job. We work very hard to encourage women to undertake this screening program but it is a voluntary screening program. Certainly, discussions like this in the Assembly, along with the work that the breast cancer organisations do—and I pay my respects to Bosom Buddies and the other breast-care organisations—will go a long way to raising awareness and to encourage women to have their screens.
MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (5.07): I thank members for their support for this motion. Mr Hanson spoke about the numbers of young women being diagnosed and the importance of self-examination. Mr Hanson also spoke about the number of screenings and the targets. I was glad to hear him also speak about the support groups but he did mention that they can do very little other than to raise awareness. I would suggest that, important as raising awareness is, it is definitely not the only area in which these groups are important. Their support of women living with cancer and their support of families are extremely important. Because of that awareness being so critical, it is very important that these groups continue to do their work in that awareness area.
Unfortunately—and I am sure members will not be surprised to hear me say this—even though we have a number of high-profile women who have recently been diagnosed and have been the subject of much publicity and there has been much discussion about breast cancer in the media, women still neglect to undergo regular screening. You meet people every day of the week who say that they have not had a screen perhaps ever in their lives or very infrequently. Often, it is a friend or a relative that can encourage women to take up the free screening that is available to them. We must also recognise that some women choose to pay privately for screening. Therefore, as I said before, those figures that are quoted do not tell the full story.