More Victorian women with breast cancer could soon be diagnosed quicker, with cutting-edge 3D screening technology to be rolled out across the state.
Six new 3D breast screening machines will be installed at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Moorabbin Hospital in Melbourne's south-east and at regional services in Ballarat, Bendigo and Traralgon.
The state government is spending $1.8 million on the machines, because medical experts are able to diagnose breast cancer faster with the 3D images they produce than the standard 2D mammograms.
"This is about accessing a much faster diagnosis and then going on to get access to treatment," Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos told reporters in Melbourne on Sunday.
There are currently seven machines at public hospitals across Victoria, and others in the private system.
But Ms Mikakos said they haven't been distributed across the state in a way that allows everyone to access them easily.
That means some women who have been called back for more tests through the state's breast cancer screening program - BreastScreen Victoria - have had to travel long distances to reach the technology.
Others have been forced to visit a private hospital and pay for the experience, or simply forgo the option and undergo more tests.
"We're ensuring absolute state-wide coverage," Ms Mikakos said.
The number of women who took part in BreastScreen Victoria hit a record 267,589 last financial year.
The program provides free mammograms to eligible women aged 40 or older, with women aged 50 to 74 advised to get checked every two years.
About 4500 women in Victoria are assessed as having breast cancer each year, with about 770 of them dying of the disease, making it the second biggest killer of women in the state.
"We know that the key to beating breast cancer is early diagnosis and early treatment, and this is where screening and assessment comes in and is just so important," Ms Mikakos said.
The machines will be installed in the current financial year.
Australian Associated Press