You may have heard of breast cancer – here in Australia, we often link it to the colour pink and there are large fundraisers from the McGrath cricket round to the Mother’s Day Classic fun run. But if we think beyond the pink, how much do you know about breast cancer and prevention?
I’d been having conversations with friends about the lack of care that we have for ourselves and the constant putting of others needs before us. This was my push to take a little more self-care and I encouraged those close to me to do the same. As women/mothers, there seemed to be an underlying feeling of lethargy and general “not quite right”. This was becoming normal conversation in my circles.
After two years of a pandemic; recent COVID-19 diagnosis, not feeling myself and limited doctor’s visits, I thought that it was time that I visited my GP to make sure that my health was in check. Bloods were ordered, heart was checked, the usual. But on our goodbyes, he
passed me a slip of paper and told me to make contact. I had not realised that from the age of 40, all Australian women are eligible for free mammograms via BreastScreen Victoria. So here at 42, I put that slip on the kitchen bench and promptly forgot about it – yet was still encouraging my friends to go for a general check-up with their GP. A few did and others are getting to their GP’s. One followed through better than I and went for her breast screen and spoke to her GP about a change in her breast… and now here we are, travelling along on her Breast Cancer journey.
So…I took my own advice, hers and my GP’s and booked in for my Breast Screen. 16th August 2022 – off I went, with anxiousness and the unknown following along close behind me. I really had no idea what to expect, we’d all heard the story about boob squishing, but I had no idea what this was all going to be or how it would feel. I did know that I wasn’t scared, that I was doing this for the right reason and that I needed to make this more than just a moment in my own health discovery.
20 minutes!! No pain, no fear, no problem. A safe place for women to take a step towards being in control of their health.
I was greeted by the most amazing women at BreastScreen Victoria at my local hospital, who answered my questions, explained the process and smiled my anxiety away.
As I sit here writing this today – 10 days post breast screen – I’ve received my results this morning: “we are pleased to let you know…..no evidence of breast cancer.” I feel relieved, sad, a whole concoction of emotion right now. I know that this is not the result that everyone gets. But I want you to know, the woman reading this right now – if you are over 40 (family history or not) – speak to your GP, make the appointment and call 132 050 to book your Breast Screen. Know your boobs!!
According to BreastScreen Victoria, 1 in 7 women in Victoria will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Most women with breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease. A breast screen can find cancers that are too small to see or feel. Thanks to early detection and better treatments, more women today survive breast cancer.
Who is eligible for a Breast Screen?
Women, trans and gender diverse people aged 40 and over who do not have breast symptoms are eligible for free breast screens with BreastScreen Victoria.
Those that are aged 50-74 are invited for a free breast screen every two years. This is because the evidence is strongest for this age group.
Breast screens are not effective for women under 40, however, if you have any concerns contact your GP.
Be Breast Aware
- Get to know the normal look and feel of your breasts, make it a fun thing you do every month – #feelitonthefirst
- If you have a partner and you feel comfortable to do so, involve them in the process as well!
- If you do notice any changes book an appointment with your GP straight away and before an appointment with BreastScreen Victoria.
BreastScreen Victoria is located throughout Victoria and has a mobile screening bus for places without a dedicated service. To find out more or to book a breast screen, call 13 20 50 or visit breastscreen.org.au