PET scan rebate introduced for breast cancer

Tuesday, 05 November, 2019

PET scan rebate introduced for breast cancer

From 1 November 2019, Medicare rebates will be available for positron emission tomography (PET) scans for breast cancer. Around 12,000 patients will benefit from these services each year, with the rebates enabling patients with advanced breast cancer to better manage and plan their treatment.

In 2019, the estimated number of newly diagnosed cases of breast cancer will be greater than 19,300 and more than 3000 women are expected to die from the disease.

Enormous strides in medical research, diagnosis, treatment and care means the chance of surviving at least five years is now 91%.

“The Morrison government is strongly committed to reducing the toll of breast cancer on Australians and their families,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

A PET scan is a minimally invasive nuclear medicine imaging technique. With the new Medicare subsidy, patients will save up to $1000 per scan.

The details of the new services are:

  • Whole-body PET performed for the staging of locally advanced (Stage III) breast cancer (Item 61524).
  • Whole-body PET performed for the evaluation of suspected metastatic, or suspected locally or regionally recurrent, breast carcinoma (Item 61525).

The independent expert Medical Services Advisory Committee recommended the listing of these new items on the basis that they are comparatively safe, clinically appropriate and cost-effective.

“Early detection is key, and for many years now Australian women aged between 50 and 74 have been invited to access free screening mammograms every two years via the BreastScreen Australia Program,” said Hunt.

“We continue to list the latest proven treatments for breast cancer on the PBS. In May, Ibrance (palbociclib) was listed for patients with inoperable or metastatic hormone receptor positive breast cancer.

“The Morrison government is committed to delivering a healthier Australia, and supporting Australians when they need it most,” said Hunt.

Image credit: © Studio

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