Two state government electorates in Brimbank were above the state average for women accessing free breast screens at Breast Screen Victoria over the past two years.

Sydenham and St Albans (both 55 per cent) were above the state average of 54 per cent for women aged 50 to 69 who were screened over two years to June 30, 2014.

Almost half of Victoria, including Kororoit (51 per cent), was below the state average, while the seat of Footscray was on a par.

BreastScreen Victoria chief executive Vicki Pridmore said the data revealed “we have more to do to raise awareness of the importance of regular breast screening”.

While 2014-15 saw a record number of women (241,122) being screened, Ms Pridmore said participation rates were influenced by several factors, including the ageing population, which meant more women were entering the age range of BreastScreen’s target population of 50-74.

“Urban participation trends tend to be lower than rural and remote areas across screening programs in many countries, due to the diversity of community, transience and lifestyle factors,” she said.

“Appointment availability may be an issue in specific areas and increased private screening in some areas may also contribute to a reduced participation rate. I encourage Victorian women, particularly those over 50, to have their breasts screened regularly and, if you’re eligible, it’s free through BreastScreen Victoria.”

BSV encourages women aged 50 to 74 to have a screening every two years, with research showing this age bracket benefits most from the program.

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