October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and is a reminder to all Australian women to prioritise their health and well-being.
Breast Cancer is the most common cancer in Australian Women and accounts for 29% of all new cancer diagnoses. It is estimated that over 19,000 women were diagnosed with the disease in 2019 – an average of 53 women each day.
Whilst early screening and advances in treatment have dramatically increased survival rates, Australia still loses approximately 3000 women to breast cancer.
Prevention is better than cure and it is important that all women regularly check their breasts for changes. In Victoria, free screening for women aged 50-74 is available every two years at a BreastScreen Service and a reminder letter is sent out. However, if you find a change in your breasts that is unusual, it is important to see your doctor without delay. Whilst most changes aren’t due to cancer, you should still see a doctor to be sure.
What’s the difference between Breast Screening and a Diagnostic Mammogram?
- A screening mammogram (or breast screen) is done regularly at a BreastScreen Victoria Screening Service to check women for breast cancer. These regular breast x-rays check to find breast cancer early when it’s too small to be felt by a woman or her doctor. Women aged 50-74 are sent routine reminder letters and no referral is required. If an abnormality is found in the screening mammogram, further tests may be requested by a doctor to reach a diagnosis.
- A diagnostic mammogram is requested by a doctor when a woman has a breast symptom or problem. The diagnostic mammogram is conducted by radiologists in a public hospital or private radiologist clinic like Imaging Associates and are not available at a BreastScreen Clinic. A diagnostic mammogram can be arranged without delay but require a referral from your doctor.
If you’re due for your regular check, please make sure you book your breast screening test this Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
To book your Breast Screen or for further information contact https://www.breastscreen.org.au/ Telephone 13 20 50.