Early diagnosis offers the best treatment options and the best chance of survival. Considering the fact there is a 97% survival rate if breast cancer is detected early, there are not enough women having a screening mammogram.
Breast Cancer remains the most common cancer diagnosed in Australian women. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime and each year more than 900 NSW women lose their battle with the disease. Despite research showing that 95 per cent of women agree that a mammogram may save their life, less than 50% of the women in NSW aged between 50 and 74 have their recommended mammogram every two years.
Jane Walsh, Director of the BreastScreen NSW North Coast Screening and Assessment Service says, “Early diagnosis offers the best treatment options and the best chance of survival. Considering the fact there is a 97% survival rate if breast cancer is detected early, there are not enough women having a screening mammogram.”
There are a number of concerning myths preventing women from being screened for breast cancer. This October, the focus is on dispelling these myths. Jane Walsh says, “Some of the most common myths that contribute to women in NSW not participating in regular breast screening include:
Myth: I do not have any family history and lead a healthy lifestyle; therefore I don’t need to be screened.
Fact: Nine out of ten women who develop breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease. As for a woman’s health, Ms Walsh says “Whilst maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important, on its own it cannot prevent breast cancer.”
Myth: But I don’t have any symptoms.
Fact: Breast screening is for women who have no current breast symptoms or changes. A screening mammogram can pick up cancers as small as a grain of rice. You have a greater chance of surviving breast cancer if you find it early. If you find a lump or abnormality see your GP as soon as possible.
Myth: The appointment takes too long! I don’t have enough time.
Fact: The appointment usually only takes 15-20 minutes. Take the time – invest in your own health. “For women who have never screened, and women who have not attended regularly, a lack of time was the main reason given for not booking a mammogram”, says Ms Walsh.
Book a mammogram, they are free and could save your life!
Women residing on the North Coast and Mid North Coast aged between 50-74 years are encouraged to call 13 20 50 to book an appointment at a local BreastScreen service, located at Tweed Heads, Lismore, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie. A mobile van also visits smaller towns; for current dates and locations of the mobile van or for more information on breast cancer and BreastScreen NSW please visit www.bsnsw.org.au