All aboard the ‘Boob bus’

Churchill Neighbourhood Centre's Abigail Brown, Jean Baudendistel and Pauline Garood and Anglicare Victoria's Kathy Ryan invite women to get a breast check.
photograph hayley mills

Churchill Neighbourhood Centre's Abigail Brown, Jean Baudendistel and Pauline Garood and Anglicare Victoria's Kathy Ryan invite women to get a breast check. photograph hayley mills

Women in Churchill are invited to a private screening of a movie the town's neighbourhood centre is naming 'Every girl's chest' via the 'Boob bus'.

The gag is Churchill Neighbourhood Centre's attempt to raise the number of local women making it to Traralgon for breast screening.

Women should be screened for breast cancer every two years between the ages of 50 and 75, but Gippsland Primary Health Network chief executive officer Amanda Proposch said screening rates in Churchill, Moe and Morwell were below the state average.

"Public transport is an issue for women in Churchill," Ms Proposch said.

"What should be a one-hour exercise to drive to the clinic, have the breast screen and drive home or back to work again is much longer on public transport."

To address the issue, Gippsland PHN and Churchill Neighbourhood Centre are trialling free bus trips.

"Gippsland PHN will be undertaking further qualitative research early next year to learn more about the barriers Latrobe women have in relation to breast screening," Ms Proposch said.

Last year the Churchill centre organised a trip for four women down to BreastScreen in Traralgon.

One of the four was the centre manager, Abigail Brown, who went for her first screening.

"I'm now 53 and I've put it off for three years and I only did it because the bus was going," Ms Brown said.

"I think people think it's a bit icky, you've got to take your top off, your hear that it's painful, you know your breast is squished."

After her first mammogram, Ms Brown thought to herself, ‘what is the big deal? Can we try and encourage more women to come?’

“Maybe women don’t perhaps put their health first, but it’s important to put your health first because you’re often leading in families and there are people out there who will really miss you,” Ms Brown said.

Breast screening can detect most cancers very early, according to Ms Proposch.

“When breast cancer is found early, it is likely to be small and easier to treat,” Ms Proposch said.

“The staff at Traralgon BreastScreen Clinic provide a supportive and caring service.”

There will be two free trips to BreastScreen aboard the ‘Boob bus’ on Thursday, December 6 and an opportunity for each group to enter a raffle and win movie tickets.

The first bus trip will leave about 9.30am and come back for lunch, then the second group will go after lunch, around 1.30pm.

Interested women can phone Churchill Neighbourhood Centre on 5120 3850 or email info@churchill.org.au.

Women can book their free two-year breast screen by phoning BreastScreen Vic on 13 20 50.

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