ONE-in-eight women in NSW will develop breast cancer in their lifetime and the disease claimed 980 lives in 2018.
To help reduce this number in 2019 and beyond, the Bathurst BreastScreen NSW centre is calling on all women over 40 to get checked.
Health data shows that 28 per cent of all cancer diagnoses among Australian women are for breast cancer, and 70 per cent of those diagnosed are women over 40 years of age.
Kay Smith, who is a health promotion officer for BreastScreen NSW, says there is no reason for women over 40 to avoid a mammogram.
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“All women between 50-74 should be getting checked every two years, and our service is available to anyone over 40,” Ms Smith said.
“It is free, it takes 20 minutes and doesn’t need a referral from a doctor.”
Early detection is key for surviving breast cancer, and the mammogram system can detect cancers the size of a grain of rice.
“If you find the cancer while it’s small, which our machines can do, it results in less invasive treatment and a higher chance of survival,” Ms Smith said.
“The screening is absolutely vital and can save women’s lives if the cancer is picked up early.”
Just one-in-two Australian women aged over 50 is getting a regular mammogram, which could be the result of a lack of understanding about the procedure.
Ms Smith says that while getting a mammogram can be daunting, the slight discomfort is more than worth it.
If you find the cancer while it’s small, which our machines can do, it results in less invasive treatment and a higher chance of survival.
“Our BreastScreen program is run by an all women team, staff and radiographers,” she said.
“The radiographer will take at least two x-rays of both breasts which will be firmly compressed, which can be uncomfortable, but it’s only 10 seconds of discomfort every two years.”
BreastScreen NSW has four fixed regional sites in Bathurst, Orange, Oberon and Dubbo.
They also have a mobile screening van that travels to smaller communities.
The Bathurst BreastScreen centre is at 35 Morrisset Street.
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