Team of BreastScreen Victoria
Team of BreastScreen Victoria

BreastScreen Victoria’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and accessible cancer screening has been recognised with a Rainbow Tick.

The organisation’s BreastScreen Coordination Unit received the Rainbow Tick, developed by Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria and Quality Innovation Performance, for providing inclusive and progressive services for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people.

This makes BreastScreen Victoria the first screening program in Australia to be recognised by the national accreditation program.

BreastScreen Victoria CEO Ms Vicki Pridmore said achieving Rainbow Tick accreditation was the culmination of many years’ work to better understand the needs of LGBTI people, create new policies and train BreastScreen Coordination Unit staff.

“We recognise that LGBTI people in our target demographic are under-screened and face barriers to screening.

“Our staff have been working with the community and organisations such as Transgender Victoria and Thorne Harbour Health to better understand and remove any barriers that may prevent any LGBTI people from accessing our services.”

Research through La Trobe University has found that older lesbian and bisexual women are an under-screened group for breast and cervical cancer. These women are also significantly more likely to be high-risk drinkers and heavy smokers. Research also indicates that hormone therapy increases breast cancer risk, however, there is limited evidence about breast cancer risk for transgender women and men.

Ms Pridmore said accreditation also reassures LGBTI staff working in the Coordination Unit that they will be treated with dignity and respect, no matter how they identify.

“This accreditation is an important step that will drive ongoing quality improvement throughout the organisation.

“We will continue to work with our clinics and screening services throughout Victoria to be LGBTI inclusive, and hope that achieving Rainbow Tick accreditation will encourage other organisations in their development of inclusive services.”

BreastScreen Victoria targets people aged 50-74, with early detection the best chance of successful treatment and recovery. More than 260,700 breast screens were performed in Victoria in 2017/18.