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  • Cancer Council SA urges South Australian women to get screened

    01 October 2019


    With today (Tuesday, 1 October) marking the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Cancer Council SA is urging eligible South Australian women to take part in life-saving, free screening mammograms. 

    The latest data shows that women with screen-detected breast cancer had a lower risk of breast cancer mortality. In comparison, women diagnosed with breast cancer who had never screened before had the highest risk of breast cancer mortality. 

    Cancer Council SA General Manager, Services, Research and Public Policy, Alana Sparrow says the difference is due to a mammograms ability to find breast cancer early.  

    “Screen-detected breast cancers are more likely to be small (less than 15mm) and we know that the smaller the cancer, the greater chance of effective treatment,” she said. 

    With October marking Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Ms Sparrow urged eligible women across the state, especially those in regional communities, to take advantage of free screening mammograms through BreastScreen SA. 

    “There are a number of areas in South Australia that are still below the state average for breast cancer screening. Of particular concern are metropolitan areas like Playford (51.7 per cent) and Port Adelaide (52.4 per cent).” 

    “We are also seeing lower than average screening rates in some regional areas—for example, the Outback North and East region in South Australia* has a screening rate of just 48.9 per cent,10 per cent below the state average,” she said. 

    “Our message to women aged 50 and over this Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to have a mammogram if they’re due. For those in regional communities, BreastScreen SA has a mobile screening unit that travels across the state, enabling regional women to take part in regular, two yearly mammograms without having to travel to Adelaide,” she said. 

    Latest data shows that breast cancer continues to be the most common cancer diagnosed in South Australian women. Ms Sparrow urged eligible women to not be complacent and use Breast Cancer Awareness Month as a reminder to get up to date with their regular mammograms.   

    “Every week in South Australia, 26 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and five will lose their life.”  

    “To help find breast cancer early, it’s vital that eligible women take part in regular screening mammograms. Mammograms are available without cost to all women aged 50 – 74. 

    It only takes 10 minutes, and it could save your life,” she said. 

    For more information about BreastScreen SA and to book an appointment phone BreastScreen SA on 13 20 50 or email BSSAenquiries@health.sa.gov.au. 

    The BreastScreenSA mobile screening unit will be visiting the following areas for the remainder of 2019: 

    • Lyell McEwin Hospital – late September until early October 
    • Mount Gambier Hospital – late September until mid-December 
    • McLaren Vale and Districts War Memorial Hospital – early October until early November 
    • Maitland Hospital – late October to mid-November 

    For more information about breast cancer visit cancersa.org.au/breast-cancer-awareness-month.

    Notes to Editor 

    • Every year, over 1,300 South Australian women are diagnosed with breast cancer
    • Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in South Australian women and the second leading cause of cancer death 
    • Nine out 10 women diagnosed with breast cancer had no family history. 
    • In 2016, South Australian women had a 1 in 18 risk of developing breast cancer by the age of 75.
    • Free, two yearly mammograms are available to all women aged 50 – 74.
    • Women aged 40-49, and 75 and over are also eligible to screen for free. If you are in this age bracket, please contact BreastScreen SA for more information. 
    • All women, regardless of their age, should also be breast aware by familiarising themselves with the normal look and feel of their breasts and see a doctor as soon as possible if you notice any changes. 
    • It’s also important for women to get to know their family history of breast and ovarian cancer and discuss their risk with their doctor. 

    *The Outback North and East region comprises of APY Lands, Cooper Pedy, Quorn – Lake Gilles, Outback, Port Augusta and Roxby Downs.

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