Bendigo BreastScreen Celebrates 20 Years
More than 53,000 women have had a breast screen at the Bendigo BreastScreen clinic during its 20 year history.
The local service discovered 1108 breast cancers during the past two decades and Bagshot resident Chris Ellerton was one of those women diagnosed.
“I was 50 when I first received an invitation letter to have a breast screen. I had two breast screens over the next four years and everything was clear. Then I had my third breast screen at age 55 and the cancer diagnosis came as a shock to me as I had no lumps and no symptoms,” said Ms Ellerton.
The breast screen discovered a small lump in her right breast. Ms Ellerton’s treatment consisted of a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
“Now I tell other women not to put it off, go for it, it doesn’t take long and it’s essential that you have it done. You’ve got your family to consider and if you catch it early, it gives you a better chance of recovery,” she said.
“Seven years down the track I have four beautiful grandchildren and I may not be here if not for that breast screen.”
Meanwhile, Woosang woman Joy Stewart began screening at Bendigo BreastScreen in March 1995 and has had a biennial breast screen ever since.
The 66 year old has never been diagnosed with breast cancer, but believes it’s important to have a regular breast screen for her health and peace of mind.
“It might hurt for a few seconds but having a breast screen is a five minute job, it’s nothing out of your life. It’s performed by a lady and it’s only a few seconds of discomfort that could extend your life.”
BreastScreen Victoria particularly encourages women aged 50 to 74 to screen as it is proven they are at most benefit from the program. The 2012-2014 participation rate for Bendigo is 58% which is higher than the statewide average of 54%.
Women diagnosed with breast cancer are surviving significantly longer than ever before. The five year breast cancer survival rate now at more than 89 per cent and can be attributed to breast screening and improved treatment options.
To make a breast screen appointment book online at breastscreen.org.au or call 13 20 50.