01 October 2018
Port Augusta local, Cheryl Hewett, was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 64. But thanks to her regular cancer screening routine, her cancer was detected early and treated effectively. This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, she’s encouraging all women aged 50+ to book in their two-yearly screening mammogram.
My mother passed away from cervical cancer at just 24 years of age so mammograms and Cervical Screening Tests have always been a huge part of my life. I began having mammograms at age 50 and have continued them ever since. Last year in January, just before my 65th birthday, I was booked in to have my regular mammogram. I’d had mammograms many times before so didn’t think much of it. I thought everything went well and then I got the phone call that everyone dreads—they had found a spot on my left breast and I was needed in Adelaide for more extensive tests.
The spot was confirmed as a tumour and I was told that I needed to have lumpectomy, followed by a re-excision of the margin, then the regime of chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy.
Every week, 27 South Australian women are diagnosed with breast cancer, and every week breast cancer claims four lives.
But regular mammograms save lives—around 90 per cent of cases are curable if caught early.
Nine out of 10 women diagnosed with breast cancer had no family history of the disease.
I was on the phone to the 13 11 20 nurses throughout and after I finished treatment, they offered me a week of rest and recuperation at the Apex Copper Coast Retreats which provided us with a much-needed opportunity to relax and recharge.
I can’t reiterate just how important regular mammograms are. Finding cancer early is so important and having the mobile screening unit come to you makes it so easy. We all need to take responsibility for our health, and there’s no reason to put it off.
Keep an eye out from October to January as the BreastScreen SA mobile screening units travel across regional South Australia, with visits scheduled for Port Lincoln, Cleve, Wudinna, Streaky Bay, Ceduna, Port Augusta, Berri, Victor Harbor, Kingscote and Mount Barker.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, prompting women aged 50–74 to book in their free, two-yearly mammogram with BreastScreen SA by calling 13 20 50. Women aged 40–49 and 75 and older may also be eligible to attend for free. It’s also a reminder to all women to stay ‘breast aware’ and self-check their breasts for changes.