BreastScreen SA review of Digital Breast Screening

News | 12 December 2012

Mr John Hill, South Australian Minister for Health & Ageing has announced a decrease in the number of small cancers detected for women screened in BreastScreen SA services.

Between 6 September 2010 and 30 June 2012, BreastScreen SA identified fewer small cancers were diagnosed than expected.  The reason for the decrease in detections has not yet been identified although it may be related to the introduction of digital mammograms.  BreastScreen SA has announced a comprehensive independent review of all aspects of the digital screening process to investigate the possible causes for the decline.

The issue is confined to BreastScreen SA only and letters to the women affected will be sent by BreastScreen SA. 

A panel of independent expert radiologists will re-read all normal mammograms taken during the specified timeframe to check the results.  BreastScreen SA said it is expected that 99 per cent of the women will be reassured of a normal result through this process.  If any discrepancies are identified, women will be contacted directly by BreastScreen SA and asked to come in for further assessment.

BCNA CEO Maxine Morand said while the issue was concerning, it was important for South Australian women not to be alarmed.

“It is understandable that women who were screened by BreastScreen SA during that timeframe may feel anxious but it is important to remember that the likelihood of finding an abnormality requiring follow-up is very low.”

Maxine said BCNA would be closely following the issue and will keep BCNA’s South Australian members updated. 

Maxine, whose own breast cancer was picked up by routine mammogram, said women should not be put off taking part in regular breast screening.

“Regular screening in the target age group reduces breast cancer deaths as early detection is an important factor in breast cancer survival.”

Concerned South Australian women should contact the BreastScreen SA hotline on (08) 8366 0266.

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