I am a real advocate of health screening programs. Statistics confirm that screening plays a key role in reducing mortality rates through the early detection and treatment of cancer.
In short, cancer screening saves lives and is a priority in our region, as we have communities with some of the lowest screening rates in Australia.
In the Lithgow area, there is a particularly low level of breast screening amongst the Aboriginal female population, with participation rates of only 15.8%. This is exacerbated by the fact that Aboriginal women are 1.3 times more likely to die from breast cancer than non-Indigenous women.
As a strategy to address this, our Cancer Prevention program has been working with Elly Chatfield, an Aboriginal health worker, to support women in the Lithgow area to have mammograms.
Already, Elly’s work is seeing results. She has coordinated a morning tea in conjunction with the presence of the mobile BreastScreen Van at Lithgow Valley Plaza and will be visiting local community groups during the coming months.
She is hopeful that encouraging the Aunties, who are local role models, to undertake breast screening, will help to slow down the cycle of breast cancer locally.
The BreastScreen Van will be at Lithgow Valley Plaza, Lithgow from 24 March - 10 April. It offers free mammograms for all women aged 40 years and over, but especially for women aged 50-74 years.
I encourage women in Lithgow to take up this opportunity. You can phone 13 20 50 to make an appointment.