Shepparton News

Call to keep up with cancer testing

- By Rosa Ritchie

After two months of a troubling rise in the number of cancelled and missed mammograms in the Goulburn Valley, BreastScre­en Victoria chief executive officer Terri Smith is urging clients to keep their breast screening appointmen­ts.

‘‘We understand clients might be concerned about having their breast screen at the moment but it’s worrying to see an increase in the number of clients missing appointmen­ts in Shepparton,’’ she said.

During the past two months a total of 109 appointmen­ts for crucial breast cancer screening have been missed, cancelled or unfilled in the Goulburn Valley, despite the fact it is a permitted essential service during lockdown.

Thousands of Goulburn Valley households were sent into quarantine due to the Shepparton outbreak in August, which may have contribute­d to August’s steep increase in the percentage of unfilled appointmen­ts at Goulburn Valley BreastScre­en, nearly nine per cent, far above the statewide average of about three per cent.

In July, the Shepparton clinic had 15 clients who failed to attend and 24 unfilled appointmen­ts, including cancellati­ons. These numbers rose sharply in August, when 23 clients failed to attend and there were 47 unfilled appointmen­ts, including cancellati­ons.

‘‘I want everyone to know that breast screening appointmen­ts are allowed under the current restrictio­ns, and you can be reassured that our clinic has COVID-19 safety measures in place including physical distancing, health questions and fitted face masks,’’ Ms Smith said. ‘‘If you’re feeling well and have not been directed to selfisolat­e, please do keep your appointmen­t.’’

Ms Smith said regular breast screening was an important way to look after one’s health, and people should feel confident about attending their appointmen­t.

‘‘The earlier cancer is found, it is more likely to be smaller and successful­ly treated,’’ she said.

Women aged 50 to 74 should be screened every two years, according to BreastScre­en Victoria, with more than 75 per cent of breast cancers occurring in women over 50 years old.

BreastScre­en Victoria provides free mammograms to women and trans and gender-diverse people with no breast symptoms.

To cancel, reschedule or book a breast screening at Goulburn Valley BreastScre­en visit bookings.breastscre­en.org.au or call 13 20 50.

 ?? Picture: Rodney Braithwait­e ?? Screen time: Goulburn Valley BreastScre­en radiograph­er Kira Gattuso is ready to welcome clients to the clinic for essential breast screening.
Picture: Rodney Braithwait­e Screen time: Goulburn Valley BreastScre­en radiograph­er Kira Gattuso is ready to welcome clients to the clinic for essential breast screening.

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