Page 4287 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 27 November 2013

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outlines the different strategies, the time lines and an evaluation of that plan. This includes invitation and reminder letters, referrals from GPs and other health professionals, community-based education, working with stakeholders and relevant peak bodies within and outside the health sector, developing, distributing and evaluating promotional resource material, and advertising and media campaigns.

Following an amendment to the regulation under the Electoral Act 1992 in June 2013, BreastScreen ACT is re-establishing access to data from the electoral roll to enable them to send ACT women direct invitations when they turn 50. BreastScreen ACT will be sending these invitations to women within the target group of 50 to 74 who have not previously attended the BreastScreen ACT program.

We have also been going back and looking at some of the lapsed attendees within the target age group, and they have been contacted—over 6,000 women. Three hundred women have been contacted by cold call to encourage them to attend the program, and letters have been sent to GPs to remind them to encourage women in the target group to have a breast screen and advise them that appointments are available.

So, again, it is a reminder out there for women in the target age group that there is a fantastic service—BreastScreen ACT—there are appointments available, and we would like to see our participation rate get to at least the target participation rate and then exceed it.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Berry.

MS BERRY: Minister, what other specialist services are available for people who have specific concerns about being at risk of breast cancer?

MS GALLAGHER: Around five per cent of women with breast cancer will develop their cancer due to an inherent predisposition. There are two major gene groups that contribute to an inherent predisposition to breast cancer, known as BRCA1 and BRCA2.

The ACT Genetics Service is a clinical genetic service based at the Canberra Hospital. It provides individuals and/or families from the ACT and surrounding region with an opportunity to discuss their family and personal history and genetic risk assessments about the possibility of an inherited predisposition to cancer can be provided if it is seen as suitable. These risk assessments are undertaken by genetic counsellors, with the aim of determining the likelihood of carrying the particular gene mutation. This testing is not covered by Medicare and has eligibility criteria for patients considered to be at high risk.

All of the attention on this gene that has come from Angelina Jolie certainly has raised interest in the local community around gene testing. We do have a service available but it is managed based on need.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Minister, what support is available in the community to support people who may have breast cancer or who are at risk of developing the disease?

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