Breast cancer won't wait for Covid

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Have you and your friends booked a free mammogram?
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Have you and your friends booked a free mammogram?

BreastScreen NSW is encouraging women aged 50 to 74 to make their health a priority and book a free life-saving mammogram this Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Director BreastScreen North Coast Jane Walsh said: "This Breast Cancer Awareness Month we want Mid North Coast women to make booking a breast screen a priority. BreastScreen NSW has implemented a range of hygiene and social-distancing measures to ensure clinics and mobile screening vans are COVID-19 safe, to protect women, staff and the wider community."

The measures include:

  • Pre-screening questions around personal health and travel
  • Limiting the number of people in the clinic/van
  • Practising social distancing and providing hand sanitiser in waiting rooms
  • A minimal contact check-in process
  • Wearing masks
  • Additional cleaning of equipment and commonly used surfaces.

Chief Cancer Officer and CEO of the Cancer Institute NSW, Professor David Currow said early detection is key to giving women the best chance of survival and reduces the likelihood of needing invasive treatment, such as mastectomy or chemotherapy.

"In 2020 alone, it's expected that more than 6,240 women in NSW will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 973 will die from the disease," Professor Currow said. "While these numbers are sobering, the good news is that if detected early, women have a 98 per cent chance of survival.

"Breast screens can detect cancer as small as a grain of rice. Our research shows that women who receive a diagnosis as a result of regular breast screening are less likely to need a mastectomy. It proves that early detection is key to unlocking less invasive treatment options for patients, making it easier for them to recover, and giving them an overall better quality of life."

The NSW Government, through the Cancer Institute NSW, is investing $62.4 million in breast cancer screening this financial year.

An appointment with BreastScreen NSW is free, takes about 20 minutes in total and no doctor's referral is needed. In addition to 46 BreastScreen NSW clinics, BreastScreen NSW has 16 mobile vans that provide services to about 180 locations across NSW, including in rural and remote areas.

If you are aged 50 to 74, book your free mammogram today with BreastScreen NSW online at book.breastscreen.nsw.gov.au or call 13 20 50.

This story Breast cancer won't wait for Covid first appeared on The Bellingen Shire Courier Sun.