BREASTSCREEN Victoria’s mobile screening van will arrive in Foster in September.
It is important for women in our community who are eligible for a free screening mammogram and choose to participate in the program to make use of this service locally during this time in order to ensure its return in two years.
Catherine Enter, Women’s Health Nurse and McGrath Breast Care Nurse at South Gippsland Hospital Community Health Centre, urges women of all ages to be breast aware. She provides information, education and resources about breast health at the Well Women’s Clinic. She also encourages eligible women to participate in the BreastScreen Victoria program. However, as this is a personal choice, Catherine recommends talking to your doctor or visiting the WWC if you are unsure about your risk of breast cancer or whether breast screening mammograms should be a priority for you.
“It is crucial that local women take the opportunity to use the BreastScreen service when it is in Foster in September this year. Use it or lose it!” Catherine stresses. “Ongoing access to this service at Foster will depend heavily on patronage during this time.”
Catherine reminds women that appointments can be made from early August onwards with BreastScreen and that there will be further media promotion leading up to the arrival of the mobile service in Foster to prompt women in the local community.
The following information provides details which will assist women decide if the program is for them.
The most current Australian breast cancer statistics released by the National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre via the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Australasian Association of Cancer Registries 2010 earlier this year reveal that:
One in nine women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer before the age of 85.
Six per cent of all cases of invasive breast cancer occur in women under 40 years of age.
One in 100 men are diagnosed with breast cancer.
About 14,000 women will be expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia in 2011.
Overall survival rates following a breast cancer diagnosis are improving largely as a result of early detection and management of the disease in addition to advancement in diagnosis and treatment.
Breast screening relies on the participation of women without breast symptoms or problems. Therefore, anyone with a breast symptom or change needs to be assessed by their general practitioner as they will require an examination of their breasts.
A screening mammogram is simply a low dose breast x-ray for women without current breast symptoms or changes. It takes only a few minutes and your results will be sent as soon as possible, usually within two weeks. Screening mammograms can detect most breast cancers when they are very small, even before they can be felt or noticed. Having regular screening mammograms is the best way to find breast cancer early, when treatment is likely to be most successful.
Nine out of 10 women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease. While women with a family history of breast cancer have a higher than average risk, the biggest risk factor for breast cancer is being a woman over 50 years of age. This is the reason why a breast screening mammogram every two years is primarily recommended for women in this age group.
Women between the ages of 50 and 69 years receive an invitation for screening mammography every two years. These women are within the BreastScreen program’s target age range.
Although women in their 40s and over 70 are outside the BreastScreen program’s target age range, they are still at risk of breast cancer and are eligible for free screening mammograms with BreastScreen Victoria every two years.
Whether or not women are having regular screening mammograms, it is important for all age groups to know the normal look and feel of their breasts. If at any time an unusual change such as a lump, pain or discharge from the nipple is noticed, please visit your doctor without delay, before making an appointment at BreastScreen.
For further information on BreastScreen and the Well Women’s/ Breast Care Clinic services please contact Catherine at the South Gippsland Hospital by phoning reception at the Community Health Centre on 5683 9780 during office hours.
To arrange for your free screening mammogram please phone 13 20 50 (for the cost of a local call). TTY 13 36 77 (for people with hearing/speech difficulties).
If you need an interpreter, please call the Translating and Interpreter Service (TIS) on 13 14 50 and ask to be connected to BreastScreen Victoria.
No doctor’s referral is required.
Female radiographers are always available.
If you think you may need extra time or assistance during your visit, please advise the telephonist.