Peace of mind in 10 min­utes

LifeStyle Wimmera - - INSIDE -

Breastscreen Vic­to­ria is re­mind­ing women in the Wim­mera that a 10-minute ap­point­ment for a mam­mo­gram can pro­vide peace of mind. It is com­mon for women’s own well­be­ing to take a back seat when they are so of­ten the glue keep­ing a busy work and fam­ily life to­gether in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, while jug­gling mul­ti­ple pri­or­i­ties.

In 2015, when warmer weather re­sulted in early har­vests in the re­gion, screen­ing rates dropped, and with re­cent flood­ing the num­ber of women book­ing in for a mam­mo­gram at Breastscreen Vic­to­ria’s Hor­sham clinic have again fallen.

Kristy Paine, a ra­dio­g­ra­pher at the Breastscreen clinic on Bail­lie Street, said many women felt anx­ious about get­ting a breast screen, which is rec­om­mended ev­ery two years for women af­ter they reach the age of 50.

Hav­ing moved to Hor­sham in 2002 and start­ing with Breastscreen Vic­to­ria in the same year, Kristy has ex­pe­ri­enced the full spec­trum of the ups and downs ru­ral life can bring.

“It’s great see­ing the same faces come in ev­ery other year; the women re­mem­ber you and they’re happy to have a chat,” she said.

“Ad­mit­tedly, we recog­nise first-time screen­ers can be a bit anx­ious, there can be a fear of the un­known.

“It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber though that the vast ma­jor­ity of women don’t have any­thing to worry about.

“All women bring their sto­ries, their life ex­pe­ri­ences and their fears with them when they at­tend a breast screen.

“We don’t ask women to leave their breasts at re­cep­tion and come back when the ap­point­ment is over.”

Sta­tis­tics show one in eight women will be di­ag­nosed with breast cancer in their life­time and 75 per­cent of those will be over the age of 50.

With age be­ing the big­gest risk fac­tor of breast cancer, Breastscreen Vic­to­ria’s pro­gram is tar­geted at women aged 50 to

74.

Women aged 40 to 49 and over the age of 75 are el­i­gi­ble to at­tend, how­ever, they are en­cour­aged to dis­cuss breast screen­ing with their GP in the context of their health needs.

With many women who screen at the Hor­sham clinic trav­el­ling from out­side of the city for their ap­point­ment, Kristy also sug­gests book­ing with a group of friends could al­le­vi­ate some of the anx­i­ety.

“We have plenty of women who come into Hor­sham as a group and make a day of it,” she said. “I en­cour­age women in the Wim­mera com­mu­nity to con­tinue to be vig­i­lant with their reg­u­lar two-yearly breast screen, as ev­i­dence shows early de­tec­tion is in­valu­able, giv­ing women the best chance of suc­cess­ful treat­ment and re­cov­ery.”

Women can make an ap­point­ment at Hor­sham’s Breastscreen Vic­to­ria clinic or any other lo­ca­tion that is con­ve­nient to them on­line at breastscreen.org.au or by call­ing 13 20 50.

Peo­ple who un­dergo the anx­i­ety of test­ing, wait­ing and treat­ment for breast cancer have ac­cess to sup­port through Hor­sham Friends Abreast Sup­port Group.

Co-or­di­na­tor Bar­bara Eltze said the group was ded­i­cated to sup­port­ing women and fam­i­lies in­stead of rais­ing money for the fight against the dis­ease.

“We are a group of ladies who have ex­pe­ri­enced breast cancer and pro­vide friendly, car­ing, sup­port and un­der­stand­ing, share feel­ings or just have a good laugh in a re­laxed at­mos­phere,” she said.

“Our meet­ings are in­for­ma­tive as we chat over lunch. Guest speak­ers also pro­vide sup­port and in­for­ma­tion. We are a source of face-to-face con­tact.”

Mrs Eltze said Hor­sham Friends Abreast met at 11.30am for lunch on the first Fri­day of the month at Hor­sham RSL.

“We not only pro­vide sup­port for peo­ple in Hor­sham, but also the broader re­gion,” she said.

Peo­ple seek­ing fur­ther in­for­ma­tion can call Mrs Eltze on 0408 557 603 or Mar­cia Car­rick 0438 874 285.

Women def­i­nitely find it a bit eas­ier hav­ing a mam­mo­gram as a shared ex­pe­ri­ence – there’s a ca­ma­raderie – Kristy Paine

Kristy Paine

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