Chris Lambeth

Chris is a biostatistician at InforMH, a unit of the System Information and Analytics branch at the NSW Ministry of Health. Originally trained in veterinary science, he has experience in the research and public health sectors. After developing a keen interest in statistical analysis of sleep and respiratory physiology data, Chris was accepted into the NSW Health Biostatistics Training Program in 2020 and has since gained experience in analysis of large linked public health datasets across a number of teams within the Ministry and has also worked on the public health response to COVID-19.



Title: BreastScreen participation rates in mental health consumers

Author(s): Chris Lambeth, Grant Sara, Wendy Chen, Myu Arumuganathan, Fred Wu, David Currow

Introduction: Mental health consumers have increased cancer mortality, due primarily to increased fatality rates. The disparity in fatality rates is associated with health care factors including lower participation rates in screening programs. Quantifying the scale of the problem in NSW and identifying groups or communities most affected is an important foundation for system improvements. Our aim is to examine the rate of participation in breast cancer screening for female mental health consumers aged 50-74 years in NSW compared to other women in NSW.

Method: Using linked data from the NSW Mental Health Living Longer Project, we calculated breast cancer screening participation rates for women in NSW aged 50-74 years, who are the target group of the BreastScreen NSW program. Biennial screening participation rates were calculated for mental health consumers and compared to rates for the NSW population.

Results and findings: Mental health consumers were less likely to undergo breast cancer screening, with a crude screening rate of 29.2% compared to 52.5% for the NSW population (IRR 0.56; 95%CI 0.55-0.57). Rates standardised for age and socio-economic disadvantage will be presented in addition to rates by region, key demographics and type of mental health condition or care.

Discussion: Breast cancer screening rates for women using NSW mental health services are more than 40% lower than women of the same age in the NSW population. Lower screening rates may contribute to later breast cancer detection and increased breast cancer mortality among female mental health consumers.

chris lambeth