Don't wait until it's too late

BreastScreen Victorian participation rates by electorate. image courtesy BreastScreen

BreastScreen Victorian participation rates by electorate. image courtesy BreastScreen

Gippsland women aged 50 to 69 are having free breast cancer checks at a rate just above the state average.

The BreastScreen statistics, released on Thursday, showed women within this age group in the Gippsland region had a 55 to 59 per cent participation rate.

In 2012-14, the statewide average participation rate was 54 per cent, with the statistics revealing almost half of Victoria was below this figure.

Having battled breast cancer in 2013 after it was detected through a BreastScreen mammogram, Latrobe Regional Hospital board chair Kellie O'Callaghan encouraged women to have their breasts screened regularly.

"I know from personal experience the importance of early detection of breast cancer," Ms O'Callaghan said.

"Screening is an essential element in early detection and we have the services available at a local level to ensure ease of access to convenient screening opportunities.

"If we talk more openly about the importance of screening we are more likely to see an increase in participation.

Ms O'Callaghan called on members of the community to encourage the women in their life to have a mammogram and support them if they were reluctant.

"Finding breast cancer early before any symptoms are noticed, and when treatment is most likely to be successful, gives women the best chance of survival," she said.

Parliamentary secretary for Health, Mary-Anne Thomas said a regular breast screen every two years was the best way to find cancer early.

For more information, or to book a mammogram, phone 13 20 50 or visit www.breastscreen.org.au

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