With Breast Cancer Awareness Month coming to a close, BreastScreen NSW Health Promotion Officer Gillian MacSmith is encouraging women to keep prioritising their breast health.
“During October, women came together to host events, turned their workplaces pink, bought a pink ribbon and perhaps even participated in one of the many fun runs," Gillian said
“However, we also want women to be proactive in looking after their own breasts, and ensure they are having regular checks. Screening mammograms are the most effective way of detecting breast cancer early."
Breast cancer claims the lives of more than 900 NSW women each year. In Western NSW alone, approximately 174 women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually. Despite these figures, approximately only 1 in 2 eligible women across the state are receiving their regular mammogram through BreastScreen NSW.
“We want conversations about the importance of breast screening occurring within the community," Gillian said.
“This October we joined forces with Bernardi's IGA in Bathurst to help us build awareness and spark these importance conversations in the Bathurst community."
Store Manager of Bernardi's SUPA IGA in Bathurst, Geoff Bottom and Store Cashier & HR Support, Michelle Hayes said they were pleased to have joined forces with BreastScreen NSW for this very important cause.
“We are happy to have joined forces with BreastScreen NSW this October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month to support the Bathurst community and promote the importance of screening mammograms for the early detection of breast cancer," Mr Bottom said.
“We are extremely pleased with the result, the in store promotions have not only prompted discussions about breast awareness, but women who have been putting off their mammograms have even said that they will make their appointment because of this," Ms Hayes said.
“The majority of breast cancers are diagnosed in women with no family history, so it's absolutely vital that all women aged 50-74 receive their regular two-yearly mammogram," Gillian said.
Gillian said to encourage conversations about breast screening in the community, it's important to share the following facts:
- Over 2000 women in NSW aged 50-74 may have breast cancer and not know it, because they haven't had their regular mammogram.
- Screening mammograms takes just 20 minutes, and should be completed every two years.
- Screening mammograms through BreastScreen NSW are free and don't require a doctor's referral. Women are welcome to visit one of the 200 screening locations across NSW, where they will be cared for by all-female staff.
- A common barrier to regular screening is the belief that breast cancer is hereditary – in fact, 9 out of 10 women who develop breast cancer do not have a family history.
To book a free mammogram with BreastScreen NSW please call 13 20 50 today.
Media enquiries: Brendan Williams, Media Manager, Western NSW Local Health District via firstname.lastname@example.org