About this site
What is the purpose of this website?
This website helps you think about whether you want to start having mammograms to screen for breast cancer. It has information about the issues you may want to consider in making your decision.
The website also contains a worksheet to help you make your decision and hypothetical examples of how other people might make the decision.
Throughout the website you will notice numbers following certain statements (eg. "Benefits of screening are likely to be less for women in the 40s, and may not outweigh the downsides of screening at this age"1,2). The number refers to information in the reference list (use the links on the right to go to the references at any time).
Is this website for me?
This website is for you if you:
are aged around 40 years;
do not have a family history of breast cancer and are therefore at average (population) risk of developing breast cancer (see family history below);
do not have a current breast symptom such as a breast lump, lumpiness, nipple discharge, itchiness, redness or any other breast symptom; and
are thinking about whether to start having mammograms to screen for breast cancer.
Breast cancer is a common disease so many women have a relative with breast cancer just by chance. Some women have a strong family history, for example several close family relatives on the same side of the family who have the disease. These women may have inherited a fault in a gene which may lead to breast cancer. Less than 5% of breast cancer is due to inherited gene faults.
If you have a relative that has, or previously had breast cancer, you can assess your risk of breast cancer at the National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre website.
If you are in:
Category 1 - Low or Average, this decision aid is for you.
Category 2 or 3 - Moderately Increased or Potentially High Risk, this decision aid is NOT for you. You should follow the recommendations from the National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre.