Saturday 17 January 2009


It is unreasonable to expect DES exposed women to pay for their breast screening since DES exposure is a medically caused condition. There is no guarantee that free mammograms are accessible through a private provider and this can especially be the case for DES exposed women in rural areas. The cost above and beyond the schedule fee of the mammogram is at the discretion of that provider. In the lobbying efforts so far by DES Action NSW, these things have not been realised by the Australian government. Lobbying is continuing for the official provision of free annual mammograms for DES exposed women by BreastScreen Australia.

Here are some steps that might help ensure that DES exposed women are provided cost-free annual mammograms:

1) Obtain referral from your GP to your local BreastScreen clinic. It would be a practical idea to have your annual clinical breast examination in this consultation.

2) Also obtain an explanatory letter from your GP about your need for ongoing annual mammograms addressed to the Director of your local BreastScreen clinic. (Contact BreastScreen Australia for the details of the relevant director of your area.)

3) Send the GP's explanatory letter enclosed with a cover letter (sample letter below) to the Director of your local BreastScreen clinic.

4) When you receive a letter from the BreastScreen Director confirming your need for ongoing annual mammograms, present this letter to your local BreastScreen clinic office manager so that your annual mammograms can be noted on their office database file.


Name of area BreastScreen
Address of area BreastScreen

Dear XXX

Cancer Council NSW advises that as I am a DES daughter/mother, I am in a higher risk group for breast cancer and should have annual breast screens. A call to BreastScreen Australia to make an appointment confirms that women considered to be in a higher risk group may be screened for free annually rather than every two years. However, it appears that BreastScreen's general definition of high risk group refers only to those who have a first degree relative who had breast cancer.

While I do not fall into this category, Cancer Council Australia advises that my exposure to DES means I fall into a higher risk category deemed to be 'similar to having a first degree relative such as a mother or sister with breast cancer.' (See fact sheet at Further to this, the reason for me being in this higher risk group has been shown to be medically caused.

As such, I respectfully ask for your support and approval in relation to including me in an annual BreastScreen program. I consulted with a GP who also supports me in this matter and I include his/her letter with mine. I am happy to provide any other information you may require. Thank you kindly for your assistance and I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely
Your name
Your address
Contact numbers
Email address

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