Media Alert BreastScreen Van

Women encouraged to have a free breast screen as the BreastScreen Mobile Screening Service visits the Latrobe Valley

Latrobe Valley women are encouraged to have their breasts screened for the early stages of breast cancer during a visit to the region this week by BreastScreen Victoria’s state-of-the-art mobile screening service.

The service offers free mammograms, and follow-up tests where necessary, to find breast cancer early before any symptoms are noticed and when treatment is most successful.

The bright pink van, known as Marjorie, is fitted with the latest digital breast cancer screening technology to enable mammography images to be captured more efficiently and digitally sent to radiologists over a broadband network.

Marjorie, named after pioneering radiologist the late Dr Marjorie Dalgarno, and her BreastScreen Van sister, Nina, travel around the state to ensure rural and regional women have easy access to breast-screening services close to home. A fixed screening clinic in Traralgon offers free 2-yearly mammograms for women all year round.

The free x-ray screening service is designed for asymptomatic women aged 50 and over.

“The biggest risk factor for breast cancer is being a woman over the age of 50,” Julie Float from BreastScreen Victoria said.

“While women with a strong family history of breast cancer have a higher than average risk, nine out of 10 women have no family history of the disease.”

Gippsland PHN is bringing the van to the area as part of an innovative three-year project designed to improve the long-term health and wellbeing of Latrobe Valley residents.

The project, funded by the Victorian Government as part of the recently established Latrobe Health Innovation Zone, works with the community and local health providers to help people quit smoking, increase participation in screening for breast, bowel and cervical cancers, and increase opportunistic screening to better identify and assist people at risk of developing chronic disease.

The chief executive officer of Gippsland PHN, Marianne Shearer, said women have the best chance of surviving breast cancer when it is detected early. The best way to achieve that is through a breast screen every two years.

“Regular breast screening saves lives and we encourage women aged 50 and over to visit Marjorie during her time in the Latrobe Valley and have their breasts screened for free,” Ms Shearer said.

Three-quarters of women diagnosed with breast cancer are aged 50 and over so breast screening is recommended every two years for women in this age group.

However, figures show that breast cancer screening rates in the Latrobe Valley are well below the state average, particularly among women who live in the Moe, Morwell and Churchill postcodes.

“Health data shows show that around 52.4 percent of Victorian women aged 50 to 74 have regular mammograms but this figure falls to around 33 percent among women in these areas,” Ms Shearer said.

“Please take the time to have your free screen. Breast screening can detect most cancers very early before you can feel them yourself. When it is found early, it is likely to be small and easier to treat.”

Marjorie will visit Ramahyuck in Morwell from Wednesday 15 November to Friday 17 November and will be parked outside Coles in Moe from Tuesday 21 November to Friday 1 December.

Drop into the bright pink van for your free breast screen in Moe or make an appointment on 13 20 50.