Overview of service and population distribution

The BreastScreen Australia program operates in every state and territory. Nationally, there were a total of 845 service locations active from 2021 to 2024 (with 2024 data, anticipated). Among those sites, 825 are expected to deliver screening at least every 4 years on an ongoing basis. Access to those 825 regular screening sites inform most of the analysis in this report.

Approximately 3.6 million women aged 50–74 lived in Australia on 30 June 2021 (ABS 2021), representing the population actively invited for breast screening.

To screen women living in different parts of the country, the majority (664 sites or 80%) of regular screening sites are visited periodically – generally by mobile mammography units. The remaining 161 sites operate permanently at fixed clinics.

Permanent sites are mainly located in Major cities areas, where the majority (2.5 million or 68%) of women aged 50–74 also live. Visiting sites are more spread out across Remoteness Areas, with over half (57%) located in regional areas (378 sites).

The number of women declines with increasing remoteness, with less than 2% of women aged 50–74 living in Remote and Very remote areas (62,200 women). Remote and Very remote areas lack any permanent sites, but contain a considerable number of visiting service locations (179 sites).

In Very remote areas, more than 1-in-3 women aged 50–74 are First Nations people (36.3% or 8,000 women), compared with 1.3% in Major cities (30,900 women). As a result, a higher proportion of First Nations women rely on visiting sites, compared with non-‍Indigenous women.

Figure 1: The distribution of BreastScreen Australia screening service locations (2021–2024) and women aged 50–74 (2021), by remoteness

A set of 2 interactive graphs. A long description is available below.


ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) (2021) ‘Population estimates by age and sex, by SA2 (ASGS2021), 2001 to 2021' [data set], Regional population by age and sex, accessed 27 October 2022.