Breast Screening Coverage

Coverage is an important performance indicator for all those involved in BreastScreen Aotearoa at both regional and national levels.


BreastScreen Aotearoa (BSA) is a national public health screening programme funded by the Government to offer free Mammography every two years to women aged 45–69 years of age. The aim of BSA is to reduce morbidity and mortality from breast cancer by the early detection and treatment of the disease.

BSA’s target is to screen 70 percent of eligible women aged 50–69 every two years. BSA does not have a target for women aged 45–49 years because there is less evidence of the benefits of this age group’s participation in a population health breast screening programme.

Improving uptake of the breast cancer screening programme by Māori and Pacific women is a key priority of the National Screening Unit (NSU) as part of its commitment to achieving equity. Coverage rates are monitored closely for these two groups.

Definition & statistical methods

Coverage is defined as the proportion of women eligible for screening who have been screened in the previous two-year period.

The number of women eligible for screening is derived from Statistics NZ Census base populations at the midpoint of the two-year screening period.

Screened women are included in the coverage calculations based on their age at the time of their screen. This means that coverage for women aged 50–69 years includes women who may have turned 70 or 71 during the monitoring period.

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Page last updated: 13 March 2015