Put your breast health first

Chief radiographer Maureen Kennedy and radiographer Lynette Arnesen encourage all Ipswich women to start getting regular mammograms

Women don pink outfits and donate money during Breast Cancer Awareness Month but too many don’t make their own breast health a priority. This October, BreastScreen Ipswich Service is urging women in high risk age brackets (50 to 74) to have a screening mammogram.

BSIS Nurse Unit Manager Nicola Godfrey reminds women that mammograms are still the most efficient way to detect the early stages of breast cancer.

“The earlier breast cancer is detected the better the chances of successful treatment and overall outcomes,” Ms Godfrey said.

“With the help of early detection, the five year breast cancer survival rate is 90 per cent.”

Ms Godfrey said only three in five women over 50 are getting a regular mammogram.

“A screening mammogram appointment only takes 30 minutes,’’ Ms Godfrey said.

Breast cancer survivor, Beris Smith knows all too well how important are mammograms.

“I went regularly to BreastScreen Ipswich and had lumps and things and thought to myself : �it’s just the same old thing again’ but I got caught out,” Beris said.

“I had a doctor [at BSIS] who felt things just weren’t perfect and if it wasn’t for her, it would have been a disaster. She just kept at it and found what she was looking for.

“I’m so grateful for her because I’m quite sure most people wouldn’t have kept looking like she did.”

Six years after her diagnosis, Beris is a survivor and hopes her story will encourage women who are “put off” by the misconception that mammograms are costly, painful or time consuming to have a checkup.

“They’re trying to give you every single chance at survival, and people are being too silly to take the opportunity.

“You don’t have to fork out money like some women think. Go to BreastScreen Ipswich and the staff will look after you.”

BSIS offer free appointments to women aged 40 years and over at BreastScreen, Ipswich Health Plaza, Bell St, Ipswich and its mobile clinics, Monday to Friday, 6.45am-5.30pm with some Saturday and evening appointments also available.

If you fall into that high risk category or have noticed signs and symptoms of breast cancer, don’t hesitate to make an appointment – phone 13 20 50 or book at www.breastscreen.qld.gov.au.