Policy priorities

From National Cancer Control Policy
Breast cancer > Policy priorities

Export options


Home > Breast cancer > Policy priorities

Overview   Impact   Prevention   Screening   Policy context   Policy priorities
NCPP Breast cancer banner.png

Contents

Policy priorities

Currently, mammography is the most effective population-based screening tool for breast cancer available[1][2]. While the potential benefits and harms of mammography screening continue to be debated[3], Cancer Council supports the Australian Government’s interpretation of the evidence and endorses population-based screening for breast cancer, provided participants are well-informed of the risks and benefits.

The BreastScreen Australia Evaluation made a series of recommendations to the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC) to maximise the impact of BreastScreen Australia on breast cancer mortality in Australia[1]. Cancer Council Australia recommends that the Australian Government respond to the recommendations of the BreastScreen Australia Evaluation.

Table 1 summarises Cancer Council Australia’s evidence-based policy priorities aimed to reduce the burden of breast cancer in Australia. Policy priorities in line with the recommendations of the BreastScreen Australia Evaluation are noted.


Table 1. Strategy for reducing breast cancer burden in Australia

Increase participation in BreastScreen Australia
Policy priority/action Agency Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Increase screening participation in the target age group BreastScreen Australia Improved cost-effectiveness of BreastScreen, increased cost Increased mortality reduction, see BreastScreen participation for more Recommendation of BreastScreen Australia Evaluation
Increase rescreening rates in the target age group BreastScreen Australia Recommendation of BreastScreen Australia Evaluation
Increase program participation among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, and women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds BreastScreen Australia, Indigenous groups, representatives of other under-screened populations Recommendation of BreastScreen Australia Evaluation
Adjust BreastScreen Australia accessibility to reflect evidence on benefits and harms
Policy priority/action Agency Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Monitor the evidence for restricting program accessibility to the target age group, for which the benefits exceed potential harms AHMAC See Cost-effectiveness Increased mortality reduction Recommendation of BreastScreen Australia Evaluation
Monitor the evidence for extending the target group to include women aged 45–49 AHMAC See Cost-effectiveness Increased mortality reduction, see Screening age range for more Recommendation of BreastScreen Australia Evaluation
Ensure equitable access to BreastScreen for all eligible women
Policy priority/action Agency Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Develop and implement clear national policies for BreastScreen Australia to ensure equity of access for all women BreastScreen Australia See BreastScreen Australia Evaluation Recommendation of BreastScreen Australia Evaluation
Ensure informed consent among BreastScreen participants
Policy priority/action Agency Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Improve program communications on the potential benefits and harms of screening, particularly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, and women from non-English speaking backgrounds BreastScreen Australia See Informed choice
Increase public understanding of breast cancer risk factors
Policy priority/action Agency Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Conduct public education campaigns to increase understanding of the association between obesity and alcohol, and breast cancer risk Australian Department of Health and Ageing/Australian National Preventive Health Agency See Modifiable risk factors
Expand the evidence base
Policy priority/action Agency Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Improve data collection through BreastScreen Australia to inform research on screening outcomes BreastScreen Australia
Allocate funding for research to improve understanding of the potential benefits and harms of mammography screening in Australia NHMRC Modest, funded on a project by project basis


Back to top

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 BreastScreen Australia Evaluation Taskforce. BreastScreen Australia Evaluation. Evaluation final report. Canberra: Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing; 2009 Jun. Report No.: Screening Monograph No.1/2009. Available from: http://cancerscreening.gov.au/internet/screening/publishing.nsf/Content/programme-evaluation.
  2. International Agency for Research on Cancer. IARC handbooks of cancer preventions vol. 7: Breast cancer screening. Lyon, France: IARC; 2002 Available from: http://www.iarc.fr/en/publications/pdfs-online/prev/handbook7/Handbook7_Breast.pdf.
  3. Duffy SW, Chen TH-H, Smith RA, Yen AM-F, Tabar L. Real and artificial controversies in breast cancer screening. Breast Cancer Manage 2013;2(6), 519–28.

Back to top