New guide to help save women's lives through early detection
The Minister for Health and Ageing, the Hon Senator Kay Patterson, today launched Australia's first breast imaging guide to help women and health professionals to diagnose and treat breast cancer and to improve communication among clinicians.
3 October 2002
New guide to help save women's lives through early detectionThe Minister for Health and Ageing, the Hon Senator Kay Patterson, today launched Australia's first breast imaging guide to help women and health professionals to diagnose and treat breast cancer and to improve communication among clinicians.
Speaking at the 53rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists in Adelaide, she said breast cancer affects one in eleven Australian women and is the leading cause of cancer-related death.
"Targeted breast cancer screening by mammography, followed by appropriate treatment, is the most effective intervention to reduce mortality," Senator Patterson said.
The National Breast Cancer Centre worked in partnership with the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists to produce the guide. Breast Imaging: A Guide for Practice aims to improve the early and accurate diagnosis of breast abnormalities.
Reinforcing the Commonwealth's commitment to working with governments to improve access to important cancer services, Senator Patterson said she was keen to discuss ways to strengthen recruitment and retention of the workforce, and strategies to improve efficiency and productivity.
The recent Baume Inquiry into Radiation Oncology has identified that Australia is experiencing a severe workforce shortage, particularly of radiation therapists and medical physicists. These shortages will impact on how quickly access levels can be improved.
"The Commonwealth is committed to resolving workforce issues and has provided $3.2 million to increase the number of undergraduate radiation therapy students by 50 per cent over the 2002 and 2003 intakes," Senator Patterson said.
"I look forward to meeting with members of the professional groups, including radiation oncologists from this College, as well as radiation therapists from the Australian Institute of Radiography and medical physicists from the Australasian College of Physical Scientists and Engineers in Medicine," she said.
Senator Patterson has written to all State and Territory Health Ministers, proposing a joint effort to improve access to cancer care. A meeting has been scheduled for November where Senator Patterson is seeking to establish a process for working collaboratively with her colleagues on resolving problems associated with the delivery of cancer services, particularly radiotherapy.
"It is important that all governments work together on ways to improve access to radiotherapy, but we will need the expertise and ongoing involvement of the professions to do this well," Senator Patterson said.
Media Contact: Randal Markey, Media Adviser, 0417 694 520