BreastScreening — Mammography Machine — Updated

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Number: D4/2017

Date: 9 February 2017

Relevant: Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Topic: BreastScreening — Mammography Machine

I am pleased to advise that Senator the Hon Fiona Nash, Minister for Local Government and Territories, has agreed to the purchase of a new mammography machine for breast screening services to Christmas Island.

The Department is also discussing with BreastScreen WA options to improve the breastscreening service for the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.  We will provide further updates on developments in these discussions.

In addition to providing greater rates of cancer detection, the new digital machine will have improved image quality and reduce the radiation dose to the women. The new digital machine will provide residents of Christmas Island with access to the most up to date technology for a ‘screening mammogram’ consistent with women on the mainland.

The Department has requested BreastScreen WA provide the technical specifications for the new machine. We expect to receive these details by March 2017, after which time we will commence the procurement processes to obtain the new mammography machine.

Based on timelines provided by BreastScreen WA, we expect the delivery of a new machine to take up to 9 months. We will provide updates on the delivery timing once we have received the technical specifications and we are able to place the order to purchase. 

In the interim, the IOT Health Service and BreastScreen WA are advising women who may be visiting Perth or elsewhere on the mainland in the near future to arrange a screening mammogram with BreastScreen Australia. This is a free service through the national screening program and is provided to women who do not have any breast symptoms. Appointments can be made by calling 13 20 50.  

BreastScreen WA also provides instructive guidance on breast health on their website. A brief guide to breast health, titled The Little Pink Book, is also available to download from their website

If you have any concerns about your breast health, please contact the IOT Health Service to make an appointment with a doctor.  The IOT Health Service will continue to provide patient assisted travel to Perth from Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands where a doctor has identified clinical breast cancer symptoms and recommends a ‘diagnostic mammogram’. 

I look forward to providing you with further updates on the mammography services.

Karly Pidgeon
General Manager
Indian Ocean Territories Branch