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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 November 2015) . . Page.. 4134 ..

In terms of breast cancer patients, what we are seeing is a very strong focus on the delivery of breast cancer care here in the ACT. Our breast cancer service has a multidisciplinary approach and is attended by a wide range of people both in the public health setting and through private health providers. We have an excellent breast care nurse framework operating out of the Calvary Hospital. They are providing services for public patients across the ACT. ACT Health, together with the McGrath Foundation, are providing an advanced breast care nurse as well, this nurse providing a specialised service and ongoing relationship support to the patient, focusing on their needs and the needs of their families in responding to a diagnosis of breast cancer.

The good news for breast cancer patients is that the survival rates continue to improve in Australia, with 89 out of every 100 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer now surviving five years or more beyond diagnosis. Here in the ACT we can attribute this to improved access to services that are staffed by first-rate clinicians and excellent performance against the targets nationally as outlined in the most recent Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Minister, can you please update the Assembly on the important work undertaken by BreastScreen ACT?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Porter for her supplementary. Yes, having regular mammograms is perhaps the most important thing that a woman can do to detect breast cancer early and improve her chances of survival. We have free breast screening services available at a number of our community health clinics, and we participate in the national breast screening program, which actively encourages women between the ages of 50 and 74 to have a free mammogram every two years.

Sadly, 82 women from the over 15,000 screened by BreastScreen ACT were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer last calendar year. But we are putting in place some significant technological improvement in our screening devices, using higher quality digital screening that has the lowest micro dose of radiation available in Australia to make sure we get a good level of accuracy when it comes to breast screens. Of course, our breast screening is conducted by a team of highly trained specialist clinicians in radiology, surgery, radiography, nurse counselling and pathology.

In 2015 the BreastScreen ACT target was to screen 15,500 ACT-resident women, and that target was met. Indeed, it was exceeded with a figure of 15, 649. We run an active promotions program reminding women of the importance of having a screen, and we use access to the electoral role to send reminder letters to women in the target age group. In the most recent calendar year over 13,800 reminder letters were sent. Nationally the incidence of breast cancer in Indigenous communities is higher; however their mortality rate is lower. (Time expired.)

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Fitzharris.

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